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Myanmar to Hire 40,000 Workers for Election Security

FILE - A woman casts her ballot at a local polling station in Bago, about 90 kilometers northeast of Yangon, Myanmar.

Myanmar has started a campaign to recruit 40,000 temporary workers to help police provide security for elections scheduled for November.

Police Force Colonel Maung Maung Soe said locals would be given preference to provide security for each polling station in the country.

“We will train them for enough knowledge and guidelines of what a policeman should know or follow," he said. "They must follow or act under the supervision of the Myanmar police force. We are now preparing for the two-week course in which what they should or shouldn't do and job description for them will be included.”

In the past, police in Myanmar have been known to use civilian groups to violently suppress protests. But when asked by VOA about this history, Maung Maung Soe said only locals with good community reputations would be hired to help with election security.

He added that the new recruits would be paid about $120 a month, the same as a policeman earns. The money is coming from foreign donations, including the European Union.

Myanmar President Thein Sein has pledged to do everything he can to ensure free and fair elections. In a radio speech Thursday, he said his government would try to reach a nationwide cease-fire agreement with ethnic armed groups before the 2015 general election.

General elections are scheduled to be held November 8.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.