Displaced Lisu villagers are demanding that the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) release three youths the soldiers forcibly recruited in northern Shan State.
According to an anonymous female source, armed Kokang troops dragged the youths – one is only 17 years old – out of the Pang Lawt internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp near Mong Yulay in Kutkai Township on Sunday evening.
“They knocked on the door and if no one opened, they kicked it in. They threatened to kill anyone who spoke out or even cried,” she said. They even refused to allow the youths’ mother to provide their sons with warm clothes before taking them away.
In total, twelve people were forced to join the MNDAA, eleven of them from Pang Lawt.
On Monday, village leaders met with MNDAA officers to demand the release of all of them. In response, the Kokang group let eight people go, but kept the three youths and a 31-year-old man.
One man, who also requested anonymity, told KNG that the MNDAA should not target IDPs to bolster their ranks.
“As IDPs, we depend on others to support us. We fled the war and took refuge in a camp, and now our children are being forced to become soldiers. They are harassing us. We talk about what they are doing, but in reality we are terrified,” he told KNG.
There are four IDP camps around Mong Yulay, which is about an hour’s motorbike ride from Kutkai town.
Pang Lawt is home to 230 people or 47 families. All of them come from Ngu Ngar village and fled the conflict in 2015.