Military Council and BGF Block Land and Waterways, Halting Food Transport in Hpapun Township

Residents of Hpapun Township, Karen State, have reported that Military Council troops and the Border Guard Force (BGF) have closed both land and waterways, preventing local residents from transporting food since mid-July.

A resident of Hpapun Township stated that in the past, while the land route was closed, they were still allowed to transport food through waterways. However, at present, both land routes and waterways have been banned, causing significant concerns among local residents about potential basic food shortages.

“Neither the waterways nor the roads have been opened yet; they are completely closed. The rice is milled and consumed from the farmers here. With both the waterways and land routes closed, no goods can enter the area. Even previously accessible waterways are now completely shut. It’s uncertain how long this closure will last. Acquiring rice has become quite challenging. At the moment, we can still manage to eat with what we have,” said the Hpapun resident.

In addition, the resident of Hpapun Township mentioned that the local people are presently sustaining themselves with the remaining basic food items transported by land and from nearby hill-side farming operators in the village. However, they are also experiencing shortages of rice, which adds to their challenges.

Residents further reported that in the villages near Hpapun Township, not only have both food transportation routes been closed, but the Military Council has also cut off electricity, phone lines, and internet connections.

Another resident of Hpapun Township expressed concern that due to the closure of the food route, commodity prices are escalating, making it increasingly challenging for the community to sustain their livelihood in the long run.

“It will be extremely difficult since both the land and waterways are closed. Obtaining food will become very challenging. Currently, the prices are significantly higher compared to Kamarmaung. Additionally, there is insufficient rainfall, and farmers are facing water scarcity for rice cultivation. A bag of 24 pyi rice now costs 140,000 kyats, while previously it was only 8,000 kyats.”

The residents of Hpapun are also deeply worried that the ban on food transportation routes will lead to food shortages and disrupt the flow of goods in the area.

Near Hpapun Township, where the transportation of food is prohibited, lies the area of Mutraw (Hpapun) District. This territory is under the control of the KNU’s 5th Brigade and witnesses frequent clashes between the BGF, military council troops, and the local Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) joint forces.

The KNU has also reported that the Military Council troops have planted landmines along the Hpapun-Kamarmaung road.

According to local sources, in the villages within the area, Military Council troops are firing artillery shells and conducting airstrikes, deliberately targeting schools, civilian residential buildings, and churches. Due to these attacks, the local people are still fleeing to find safety.

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