Hpa-An Locals Stock Up on Supplies Amidst Speculation of Urban Fighting

Amid rumors of impending operations by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)-led resistance forces to seize Hpa-An Township in Karen State, potentially triggering urban battles, some residents are preemptively stockpiling rice and other essential food items.

A local, who is personally accumulating rice and dry food, mentioned that widespread rumors about KNLA’s intent to secure full control of Hpa-An by the end of December have prompted Hpa-An residents to amass such provisions in anticipation.

“We’ve heard about KNLA’s plans to take over Hpa-An by the end of December. We’re uncertain whether it’s just rumors or a solid plan, but as a precaution, we’re purchasing and stockpiling dry noodles and rice in advance”, he told KIC.

Conflict has erupted in certain areas of Karen State, causing concern among Hpa-An locals that the unrest may extend to their township. Consequently, they are proactively preparing food and essential supplies in case evacuation becomes necessary.

“We constantly hear about wars happening in different places. Seeing online that people in Kawkareik had to run away with just their clothes during the clashes, we’ve prepared ahead for what we might need if faced with a similar situation. If there’s a war in Hpa-An, we’ll be ready to evacuate and have also decided to assist the resistance forces as much as we can”, another Hpa-An resident said.

Upon inquiry about the rumored imminent operations in Hpa-An, the local resistance forces responded that they chose not to comment on the matter due to military considerations.

Currently, in Hpa-An Township, the Military Council has swiftly constructed concrete bunkers and dug trenches in strategic locations such as Taungkalay ward, Livestock zone, the compounds of the 202nd Battalion and 22nd Divisions, downtown high-rises, elevated hills with pagodas, and at the city’s entrances and exits. These defensive preparations include heightened security measures in collaboration with the Karen Border Guard Force (BGF), locals reported.

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