The government in Myanmar has announced compulsory military service for all young men and women as unrest continues in the country.
But it has been defeated in recent months in a series of battles with ethnic militias and anti-coup fighters.
The move announced Saturday will require all men between the ages of 18 and 35 and women between the ages of 18 and 27 to serve for at least two years under military command.
No further details have been revealed. But the military council said in a statement that the Ministry of Defense “will issue the necessary regulations, procedures, declaratory orders, notifications and instructions.”
The army has faced a series of humiliating defeats in recent months.
At the end of last year, three ethnic rebel armies in Shan State – supported by other armed groups opposed to the government – seized border crossings and routes carrying most overland trade with China.
Myanmar's military-appointed president, Myint Swe, a former general, had previously warned that the country risked disintegration if the government could not control the fighting.
A law allowing compulsory conscription was introduced in Myanmar in 2010, but has not yet been implemented.
Under the legislation, conditions of service can be extended for up to five years during a state of emergency. Alternatively, those who ignore summons to duty can be imprisoned for the same period.
The country's junta declared a state of emergency in 2021 and it was recently extended for another six months.
Myanmar endured nearly 50 years of rule under repressive military regimes before moving toward democracy in 2011.
On February 1, 2021, the military announced that it had taken control of the country.
Since then, unrest and fighting have affected the country, displacing more than a million people and killing thousands.
The army's performance in its recent battles with armed ethnic groups – some of which ended in defeats and retreats – raised criticism and doubts among its supporters.
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