Women Recruits Being Trained for Combat Roles by Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 12 September 2022

Myanmar’s military, which is struggling to recruit amid heavy casualties and defections, is signing women up for combat roles.

A recruitment advert in the junta-owned Myawady newspaper on Monday invited single women aged 18 to 25 to join the armed forces.

The candidates will receive four months of training and then become privates in combat support roles in the army, navy and air force, it stated.

The junta said applicants do not need a degree or to be lighter than 45kg, which were previous requirements.

Female soldiers have reportedly been seen on the front lines in several areas, including Kayah State, where women have been captured and used as human shields.

The regime has been struggling to recruit and applications to the regime’s academies have plummeted since the 2021 coup.

The Defense Services Academy, Defense Services Technological Academy and Defense Services Medical Academy raised their maximum age by six months to 18½ in June.

The regime has ordered officers’ wives to undergo training and mobilized paramilitary groups known as “Pyusawhtee” from junta supporters, members of the regime-linked Union Solidarity and Development Party and former service personnel to boost numbers.

The regime has been sustaining heavy casualties amid resistance from battle-hardened ethnic armed organizations and newly formed armed groups opposing military rule.

According to the civilian National Unity Government, more than 20,150 junta soldiers have been killed and another 7,000 wounded since the NUG’s declaration of war on September 7, 2021. Many regime troops are also defecting.

Armed forces personnel were estimated at between 300,000 and 350,000 in early 2021 with current estimates at 200,000 of whom only around 100,000 are combat soldiers.