The Myanmar military is suffering defections from its forces and is finding it hard to recruit. In exclusive interviews, newly-defected soldiers tell the BBC that the junta, who seized power in a coup two years ago, is struggling to suppress the armed pro-democracy uprising.
“No-one wants to join the military. People hate their cruelty and unjust practices,” says Nay Aung. The first time he tried to leave his base he was badly beaten with a rifle butt and called a “traitor”.
He’s now living in a safehouse along with 100 other newly-defected soldiers and their families. These men, who refused to fight their own people, are now in hiding so we are not using their real names. They’re being housed and protected by the very resistance movement they were ordered to fight.
Since the military seized power in a coup in February 2021, more than 13,000 soldiers and policemen have defected, according to the exiled National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG). They are offering cash incentives and support to try and get more soldiers and police officers to switch sides.