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Archive for September 6th, 2004

The Sri Lanka Army arrested a village officer at his home in Jaffna Thursday morning around 7 a.m. Nagalingam Sunthararajah, 44 was arrested by a SLA special forces motorcycle unit which neither gave a receipt nor reason for his arrest, his relatives said. Sunthararajah is the village officer for section J.486 in Jaffna.

The SLA also arrested Vivekanadan Ramesh, 32, at a hardware shop in Jaffna Thursday morning. The army gave no reason for his arrest.

Another youth, Tharmakulasingham Thaasan, 17, was arrested Wednesday morning at his residence in KKS Road in Jaffna town.

Sunthararajah, Ramesh and Thaasan are being detained at the 51-2 brigade headquarters in Jaffna town, sources said. Their relatives have complained to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna.

Meanwhile, the mother of Saravanamuththu Rajeswaran, 22, complained to the HRC Thursday that he son has been missing from yesterday. She said that she is making inquiries whether her son too was arrested by the SLA.

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Sri Lanka’s first hospital for leprosy patients that was built on an island in the Batticaloa lagoon in 1926 is to be closed this month, health officials in the eastern town said Tuesday. Hospital officials said that the government is closing down the hospital so that the Sri Lanka army can take over the strategically located Maantheevu (Deer Island) and the buildings on it. They said that the SLA had recently inspected the structures on the island recently. The island overlooks the main entry point between the Batticaloa town and the districtís main hinterland, which is controlled by the Liberation Tigers. The British started the Maantheevu hospital with 250 patients 76 years ago. This island in the Batticaloa lagoon was selected for its salubrious condition and isolation. Access to Maantheevu is only by boat.

A patient in the hospital. Note: Tamilnet library photo. SLA does not allow cameras on the islandThe SLA’s 23-3 brigade headquarters in Batticaloa town told the leprosy hospital officials Monday that all the patients in their care would be transferred to a medical facility in Ragama near Colombo on 28 March. The Health Ministry too informed the officials Monday that the inmates should be ready to leave the island and that a team of officials would be visiting the Maantheevu hospital on 23 March for finalising arrangements for the transfer. The Health Ministry sent circular in November 2000 that the Maantheevu hospital is to be closed down and that persons affected by leprosy should be treated as out patients in hospitals in the district. The Ministry officials had said that the transfer is necessary to ensure the security of fifteen Sinhala patients who are on treatment here. Tamil and Muslims inmates are objecting to the transfer. However, informed sources in Batticaloa said that the decision to close down was taken by the Ministry because the army wanted to take over the island for its strategic and secure location.

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Twelve Sri Lanka Army soldiers were killed in an ambush by the Liberation Tigers at Sungawil in the Polonnaruwa district around 6.40 a.m Thursday. The LTTE ambush unit recovered 3 bodies of the SLA soldiers killed in the attack, the Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio said Friday evening. The radio said the SLA troops were returning to their camp at Sungavil after night patrol when they were attacked. The LTTE ambush unit recovered following weapons, according to the radio: AK Light Machine Guns-02, 40 mm. Pistol-02, T-56 assault rifles-09, Communication equipment-01, Night Vision Glass -01, medium range rounds-2282, Binocular-01. Meanwhile the Liberation Tigers handed over a body of a SLA soldier to the International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday in the northern Vanni region, according to the radio. The soldier was killed in an ambush by the Tigers at Ceylon Theater in the Manal Aaru region Thursday morning. In a seperate incident the Liberation Tigers snipped and wounded a Sri Lanka Army soldier at Kiran, about 27 km. north of Batticaloa around 6 a.m. Friday, army sources in the eastern town said. The soldier was admitted at the Polonnaruwa hospital. Sources in Batticaloa said all transport through Kiran bridge was disrupted and some civilians were also assaulted by the soldiers.

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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Saturday complained to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers are intimidating its members and public in Jaffna district, sources said.

The LTTE Jaffna district political office in its complaint said that when the head of the Vadamarachchi war memorial and members of public were clearing the memorial premises Friday morning eight armed SLA soldiers arrived in four field motorbikes at high speed, stopped at the entrance to the war memorial and threatened the members of the public.

The SLA soldiers left the area after spitting on the ground. They behaved indecently, LTTE Jaffna district political authorities told the SLMM.

“SLA soldiers are violating the spirit of the ceasefire agreement in Jaffna by intimidating members of LTTE and public in Jaffna district. We severely condemn this provocative act of the SLA soldiers, “said LTTE to the SLMM.

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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Saturday complained to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers are intimidating its members and public in Jaffna district, sources said.

The LTTE Jaffna district political office in its complaint said that when the head of the Vadamarachchi war memorial and members of public were clearing the memorial premises Friday morning eight armed SLA soldiers arrived in four field motorbikes at high speed, stopped at the entrance to the war memorial and threatened the members of the public.

The SLA soldiers left the area after spitting on the ground. They behaved indecently, LTTE Jaffna district political authorities told the SLMM.

“SLA soldiers are violating the spirit of the ceasefire agreement in Jaffna by intimidating members of LTTE and public in Jaffna district. We severely condemn this provocative act of the SLA soldiers, “said LTTE to the SLMM.

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A Special Forces (SF) commando of the SLA’s motorcycle unit that was riding ahead of an army convoy was killed this afternoon around 1.15 p.m. at Saththurukkondaan, six kilometers north of Batticaloa town, on the main road when he was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).

The rapid deployment motor cycle party rides ahead of large SLA convoys leaving Batticaloa when the threat is considered high on the main road to Valaichenai and thence to Polannaruwa.

The IED that killed the SF commando had been concealed in a tree said Sri Lankan Police sources.

Although recently purchased Chinese armoured personnel carriers (APCs), South African Buffles and British Unicorns guard the convoys, it has been felt that they are useless against the small groups of Liberation Tigers who set off claymores, fire on the vehicles hit by these mines and quickly melt away into the shrub jungle and villages by the road.

This was the case when another SLA unit was attacked at Aarumukaththaankudiyiruppu, seven kilometers further north of Saththurukkondaan, recently.

The Tigers had caused the damage and withdrawn before the APCs could effectively swing into action.

The motor cycle borne rapid deployment unit of the SF is considered were agile in dealing with such situations.

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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Saturday complained to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers are intimidating its members and public in Jaffna district, sources said.

The LTTE Jaffna district political office in its complaint said that when the head of the Vadamarachchi war memorial and members of public were clearing the memorial premises Friday morning eight armed SLA soldiers arrived in four field motorbikes at high speed, stopped at the entrance to the war memorial and threatened the members of the public.

The SLA soldiers left the area after spitting on the ground. They behaved indecently, LTTE Jaffna district political authorities told the SLMM.

“SLA soldiers are violating the spirit of the ceasefire agreement in Jaffna by intimidating members of LTTE and public in Jaffna district. We severely condemn this provocative act of the SLA soldiers, “said LTTE to the SLMM.

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