Child Soldier Returned to Parents After Broadcast by Foreign-Based Radio

Buthidaung: A child soldier was returned to his parents by army authorities two days after a report was aired by a foreign-based Burmese broadcast service, said a monk close to a relative of the boy.

“Maung Ray Nyien was handed over by army officers to his family on 19 November after the BBC broadcasted the report on 17 November,” said the monk.

14-year-old Maung Ray Nying, who is studying in class 7, was recruited by Corporal Soe Aung and Private Maung Pya from local LIB 234 based in Buthidaung. They tricked the child by claiming he would get a better education in the army.

Maung Ray Nyien is the son of U Aingar Aung and Daw Pulay Maung from Awrama Village in Buthidaung Township.

His parents went to the army on 31 October 2011 and asked the army to return their child to them, but he was unwilling to return because he believed he would get a better education if he stayed in the army.

Afterwards, a politician in Buthidaung who is close to the family reported the situation to the BBC and they aired a report on the matter on 17 November.

“High army authorities knew of the incident after the BBC aired it through its program. Afterward, the army authority brought him from the recruiting center in Sittwe and handed him over to his family. His parents are happy and thankful to the BBC and other media for their child’s return home,” the monk said.

Reports on the child’s recruitment were also published by Narinjara News based in Bangladesh, and Toe Tet Ray Journal, owned by the information department of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party inside Burma.

The RNDP published the report in their Toe Tet Ray Journal in issue No. 1, Volume 20, on 20 November, but there has been no other reaction by the Burmese army.