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 euros) and 2,000 dirhams (185 euros) 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.