The Royal Government announced the closure of all roads leading into Eastern Province. The main highways into the province have been sealed off and closed to non-military personnel and vehicles amidst heavier fighting between government forces and rebels in the province.
The closure of Eastern Province to civilian vehicles and people came as rebels forces have fought heavily and came within 7 km from the provincial capital of Maname. The rebels attacked several government fortifications in order to disrupt the preparation by the Armed Force of Equanter (AFE) to launch a major offensive to relief the besieged town of Smallville. A few mortar rounds have landed at the small Maname Airport, where government troops reinforcements are congregating.
The rebel attacks caused the Equanterian Army to suffer setback in their preparation for a major offensive. Equanterian Army confirmed the rebels attacks had some effects. "A few lorries and jeeps with supplies were destroyed by rebel forces," said Brigadier General Brav Hart, Commander of Equanterian forces in the Eastern Province.
"The lost of some supplies is a small setback. We will still be able to launch an offensive to relieve Smallville."
The rebels' offensive was repulsed by Equanterian troops, with the attackers suffered heavy casualties. In one attack along Highway M1 linking Maname to Smallville, 40 rebels were killed and another 100 wounded.
The fighting that is now taking place so close to the provincial capital Maname has rattled the residents. "My business has been affected. Few people dare to come out and taste my ice cream and tasty cake," said a café owner. "Now my ice cream supply from the port has been delayed as the whole Province is shut down."
The move to seal off the province has been criticised by the Opposition Party in Parliament as it will block all humanitarian aids into the war zone.
"The Royal Party Government is useless as it cannot even deal with a few rebels. Now it also shut down all humanitarian routes to the war torn zone," said Mr Don Duck, leader of the opposition party.
The Royal Government dismissed the opposition criticism. "Don Duck always criticised. Even when we help the poor he would also condemn the government. He thinks he is smart. That is why he has been a bankrupt but was saved by his daddy," said a Royal Party Spokesman.
Amidst the bickering among the politicians in the Capital, it is the people on the ground who are suffering from the military conflict.