BNI has already reported that many coup- regime supporters and military families have already fled Myawaddy township fearing an imminent offensive from revolutionary forces.
This fear has been fueled by the sweeping gains of the Three Brotherhood Alliance in capturing a series of army outposts, military bases and police stations in northern Shan State in the 1027 offensive.
The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and joint resistance forces have strategically positioned themselves around Kawkareik Township. If they were to initiate a battle to capture the town, residents are concerned that they could become trapped in the conflict zone with little opportunity to flee, a Kawkareik resident told KIC.
He told KIC that, “If the resistance forces take control of the town, the Military Council will likely shell it heavily. Military dictators rarely prioritize public safety. In fact we are already seeing artillery shells already falling in the town. Locals are uncertain whether to stay or flee. It would be reassuring if people could be given advance notice if the battle is imminent. Right now the primary concern is the fear of being unexpectedly trapped in a conflict zone.”
Bo Kyaw Thet, the leader of the White Tiger Column operating in conjunction with KNLA, gave an assurance that prior warning will be given to the people in the event of any significant military action by the joint resistance forces, hence he claimed there is no need for excessive concern.
The White Tiger commander explained, “What I want to convey to the public is that there is no need to be anxious about our future actions. If we are planning something significant, we will provide prior notice. Currently the Military Council is shelling residential areas and causing harm to civilians. Unfortunately there have been almost constant civilian casualties in recent days due to the shelling”, Bo Kyaw Thet said.
In the past few weeks, battles against the Military Council in northern and central Myanmar have escalated, with certain towns being captured in the process. As a result, residents in Kawkareik are nervous about the potential for a similar town-capturing battle and the associated repercussions.
The Military Council’s Hlaingwa hill-based artillery unit and the 97th Battalion consistently shell the town of Kawkareik inflicting civilian casualties on a daily basis.