The rest will stay on like Sumdu.
This is the fifth batch of basic training since March last year, Aung Ja told The Irrawaddy.
Sometimes he and his men train as many as 300 at once, sometimes only 180. Since the fighting restarted in June last year, “sometimes we need manpower,” he confesses, so the training has to be shortened to just one-and-a-half months.
Sumdu wanted his photo to be taken in uniform. He ran up to the barracks and ran back in nervous excitement wearing his KIA fatigues and holding a wooden, rifle-shaped stick in his hand. He decided against including the weapon in the photo and asked for his eyes to be blacked out. “It's dangerous if I ever want to go back to Thailand,” he explained.