SLA imposes curfew in Valaichenai
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 March 2000, 16:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan army in Valaichenai told residents in the town today to stay indoors after 7 p.m. in the evenings. The announcement was made over the public address system at the Valaichenai Pillaiyar temple this morning and noon sources said.
Residents said that the unofficial curfew will affect the town slowly limping back to a semblance of normalcy following routine action by the SLA since last year to improve relations between the troops and the local population. Arrest, detention, indiscriminate shootings and shelling into populated areas etc., were almost daily occurrence in this town and its environs.
Human rights abuses by the SLA and Police were widespread. Valaichenai is a strategic junction on the SLA's main supply route (MSR) to the Batticaloa district. The SLA has more than ten camps in and around the general area of Valaichenai to stop the Liberation Tigers who control territory to the west, southwest and northwest from overwhelming this vital junction on the MSR.
Abuses by the SLA went unchecked in this Tamil town and its impoverished hinterland until early 1998 when some action was taken by the army brass to rectify the situation in the wake of reports by the Directorate of Military Intelligence.