Army shoots traders violating embargo
[TamilNet, Sunday, 15 November 1998, 20:05 GMT]
Four civilians were shot dead by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) at the Uylankulam forward defence lines on Friday night around 8.00, said sources in Mannar. Three of the dead have been identified as residents of the Kilinochchi district who had sought refuge at Madhu Church in the Vanni.
They are Iyaavu Raasu (48) Thirumalai Raasu (35) Sinnasamy Uruthiran (32).
The incident took place between the 35th and the 37th guard posts of the SLA in the Uylankulam Convent detachment area.
They were civilians involved in business, buying goods in the Mannar area and then selling them in areas not controlled by the SLA, said sources. Due to a Government imposed economic embargo on areas not controlled by the SLA, such trading is illegal.
Many refugees, without resource to any other forms of income, who have been involved in this type of high risk and illegal trading have been shot dead by the SLA recently.
During the past 3 months, 12 such traders have been shot dead by the security forces in the same area, said sources in Mannar.
The District Judge in Mannar, M.Ilancheliyan, had instructed the Brigadier in charge of the Sri Lankan security forces of the area to arrest those who are involved in similar business or take appropriate steps to prevent the trading of banned items.
He pointed out that even if the traders were arrested and produced before the courts they would not be sentenced to death.
The Judicial Medical Officer carried the postmortm of the bodies this evening.
However the bodies have not ben handed over to the relatives, said sources.
Meanwhile, the Security Forces Headquarters in Palaly, Jaffna said in a press statement that the SLA recovered four bodies of the Liberation Tigers who were killed in a ambush at at Parappankandal on November 13.
The Press release states:
"On 13 November 1998 in the early hours of the day at Parappankandal in Mannar district troops in ambush engaged a group of LTTE members with small arms. LTTE retaliated with small arms. Ground troops confirm more than 7 LTTE members were killed. On a subsequent search in the area troops recovered 04 dead bodies of LTTE along with 02 hand grenades and a few military items."