childinjured childsoldierFormer Child Soldiers:


Myat Win, recruited at age 15

At Hokho labour camp in Shan State… a watcher always kept a close eye on me, counting the seconds loudly. If I fell short of the time limit, he would push me over and beat my legs and back with a stick.

“My body was bruised black and blue with a lot of bleeding under the skin. I was in so much pain. I was not allowed to scream. The more, I did, the more he beat me. I could not escape from him…

“I just tried to distract myself and closed my eyes. I missed my home.”

During a series of interviews, Myat Win explained that he was stopped on his way home from a football match by two policemen and taken into custody for breaking curfew. He was then told by the officials that he was being sent to “football training” but was instead taken to a military training centre. He escaped from training and went into hiding but eventually turned himself in, due to pressure from local authorities on his family. He was sentenced to hard labour and, upon being released, crossed the border to Thailand after being ostracised within his community.



Aung Ko Khine, recruited at age 14

I fought against the rebels for eight months as part of the Myanmar Army… During that time I was forced to kill my close friend, my comrade, with my own two hands… I took my gun and killed my commander who gave the order and then ran away.

“I arrived in a village under the Karen 5th brigade and I told them that I would keep my gun and fight alongside them.”

Aung Ko Khine said that he was taken off a street by a pair of state army officials and forcefully conscripted. He also claimed that, upon escaping from the state armed forces, he joined an ethnic non-state armed group to fight against the atrocities being committed by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army).

According to his testimonial, he lost his eyesight and sustained severe injuries during a de-mining operation. This interview was interrupted by an impromptu inquiry by local Thai police and had to be shortened due to security concerns for Aung Ko Khine.



Myint Khine, recruited at age 17

They put me in a pitch black cell, scraped my shins and electrocuted me… they tied me up and electrocuted my legs and if that did not work, they would scrape my legs again.

“They would then force me to kneel on broken glass with my arms in an airplane position. The worst thing is that they would beat me with a stick after this… until I fell unconscious.

“They would shove a huge piece of fish and chili paste in my mouth and I had to hold it… I wanted to commit suicide. I just wanted to die.”

Myint Khine claims he was forced to serve in the state armed forces by recruitment officials, who used his father’s politically active background as a threat against him and his family.

He said that prior to being conscripted he was detained and severely tortured for six months because of his family background. He was made to serve in the army despite his poor eyesight and chronic health problems.


The video testimonials are excerpts from the documentary Men at 15, by Preethi Nallu and Kim Jolliffe. 

Go back to Myanmar or see Developments


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