Fighting has escalated in Katha Township, Sagaing Region, despite the regime’s attempts to wrestle control of the area from armed civilian groups resisting the dictatorship.
On 1 February, the one-year anniversary of the coup, an explosion rocked the municipal office in Katha town at 6:30am with another blast happening nearby, an anonymous source told KNG. Although no one was injured, he heard that computers were damaged by the blast. The town, depicted in George Orwell’s fictional novel “Burmese Days” as Kyauktada, has seen repeated explosions over the past three days.
The post office was blown up on 31 January and another explosion occurred on Sunday at the engineering office in the same municipal office that was attacked on Tuesday.
According to reports from locals, the junta’s forces are preparing to lay underground fibre optic cables to maintain absolute control over connectivity in the township.
On Monday, the People’s Defence Force (PDF) for Katha warned regime-controlled municipal, customs and fisheries departments against inflated prices and called for no more tenders to be awarded to people close to the dictatorship.
Another source, who also asked not to be named, said the explosions affected the heart of the regime’s control centres in the township. ”People are afraid to leave their homes,” he said, after the army tightened security and stopped everyone at the numerous checkpoints in the township. The army arrests anyone and confiscates their property if it suspects them of being linked to the PDF, the interim National Unity Government or any other committees associated with it.
In anticipation of junta airstrikes, the PDF has advised civilians to dig bunkers and stock up on food and other essential rations. Previous junta airstrikes have displaced hundreds of people in the township, while many have been killed by bombardments and artillery strikes, and many homes in Sagaing Region have been destroyed since the coup a year ago.
Another man, who wished to remain anonymous, told KNG that the military is sending in numerous reinforcements on flotillas and by land and expects clashes to occur soon in Katha town, where soldiers constantly patrol the streets during the day and evening.