In the weeks following the February 1 military coup, Andrew joined millions across Myanmar in peacefully demonstrating for a return to civilian rule.
Less than two months later, the 27-year-old was training to kill soldiers with a wooden hunting rifle in the jungles of his native Kayah State on Myanmar’s southeastern border with Thailand.
“Before the coup, I couldn’t even kill an animal,” said Andrew, who in common with other resistance fighters interviewed by Al Jazeera preferred his name not be disclosed for security reasons. “When I saw the military kill civilians, I felt really sad and troubled… I came to the mindset that I’m fighting for the people against evil military dictators.”
Andrew is among growing numbers of civilians across the country, many of them young, who have taken up arms to bring down a military that has killed more than 860 people, mostly in anti-coup protests, arrested more than 6,000, and used tactics including torture and enforced disappearances since it seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.