Morocco officially restarts compulsory military service

Moroccans aged between 19 and 25 will serve for one year in the armed forces, some 12 years after conscription was abolished. (AP Photo)
Updated 08 February 2019
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Morocco officially restarts compulsory military service

  • Draft dodgers face penalties ranging from one month to a year in prison, but exemptions will be made for those who do not meet physical standards and for university students
  • Moroccans are divided over the return of military service — some view it as gainful employment for youths left behind by development, others as a tool to blunt protest movements

RABAT: Morocco on Thursday officially restored compulsory military service, despite complaints from some young people in the North African country.
King Mohammed VI gave “instructions that 10,000 conscripts be called to military service in the current year, before bringing this figure to 15,000 in the next year,” a cabinet statement carried by the MAP agency said.
Moroccans aged between 19 and 25 look set to be called up for one year, according to the legislation that was unveiled in August, some 12 years after conscription was abolished.
The first conscripts will be enrolled in Autumn 2019, government spokesman Mustapha Khalfi said.
Draft dodgers face penalties ranging from one month to a year in prison, but exemptions will be made for those who do not meet physical standards and for university students.
Military service will be optional for women and dual nationals.
Conscripts will be paid between 1,050 dirhams (€96) and 2,000 dirhams (€185) net per month, according to Khalfi.
Moroccans are divided over the return of military service — some view it as gainful employment for youths left behind by development, others as a tool to blunt protest movements.
The palace said its goal is to improve “integration in professional and social life” for young people and boost their sense of citizenship.


16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

Updated 26 June 2019
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16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

  • The accident occurred outside Mahamasina Stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark National Day

ANTANANARIVO: At least 16 people were crushed to death and dozens injured in Madagascar on Wednesday at a stadium hosting national independence day celebrations in the capital Antananarivo.
The bodies of sixteen victims, including three children, were stored at the mortuary of HJRA hospital in the city, AFP journalists said.
Hospital director Oliva Alison Rakoto had earlier reported 15 dead and 80 wounded.
According to witnesses at the hospital, the accident occurred in the afternoon outside the Mahamasina stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark the national holiday.
At the end of a military parade, security forces opened the gates to allow spectators to leave the enclosure, causing the crowd to mass outside the stadium, witnesses said.
The police then immediately closed the gates and blocked the crowd, witnesses said, causing a deadly pile up.
“When the organizers opened the gate, we were in the front row, in the queue,” said Jean Claude Etienne Rakotoarimanana, 29, who suffered bruises from the crush.
“Suddenly people ran to get in front of us. They shoved us, some even punched us and pulled us,” he added, saying he then fainted.
In September 2018, a deadly crush killed one person and injured 30 people in similar circumstances at the entrance of the same stadium during a football match between Madagascar and Senegal.