Before the Empire converted the city into a garrison, Mos Ila was a settlement largely overrun by Exchange outlaws and smugglers. The local farmers and traders who made up the bulk of the population were at the mercy of the crime syndicate, which found Tatooine to be a perfect base of operations. When Imperial troops landed unannounced and swept all opposition out of the city, the residents reacted with mixed emotion‒glad to see the Exchange gone, less certain of their new Imperial masters.
This is not the first time Mos Ila's local authority has been deposed. The settlement was originally built as a trading post with the assistance of local Jawas and was governed by a Jawa council. The non-Jawa population had no problem with this arrangement, despite the unpredictability of the Jawa-built machines; rather, it was the arrival of the Exchange that forced the Jawas out and soured outsider-Jawa relations in the region.