SLA sounds alarm on first day of truce
[TamilNet, Friday, 13 April 2001, 11:45 GMT]
The Sri Lankan security forces high command, in a clear signal that it was not comfortable with the limited ceasefire declared by Colombo for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, charged in a SLA news release Friday that the Liberation Tigers are taking advantage of the army halting offensive operations, barely 12 hours into the truce. The Police, army and the Special Task Force stepped up security in areas controlled by them in the north and east of the island Friday although the ceasefire came into effect from midnight Thursday.
A Police officer in Batticaloa south said that his men are on the alert for members of the Liberation Tigers coming into his zone during the ceasefire. The arresting of members of the Liberation Tigers during ceasefires has been a sore point that undermined truces in Sri Lanka since 1987.
“That the army has started accusing the LTTE of attempting to secure military advantage well before the ceasefire is through its first day tells us that the going will be quite tough in the crucial week ahead of us” said a TULF MP, commenting on the SLA news release Friday.
The extended ceasefire declared unilaterally by the Liberation Tigers since 24 December as a goodwill measure towards peace talks will expire on 24 April unless they prolong it further.
Following is full text of SLA news release:
"TERRORISTS ATTEMPTS (sic) TO TAKE THE ADVANTAGE OF THE TEMPORARY HALT OF OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR PERIOD
Reliable information confirmed by monitored terrorist radio transmission reveal the LTTE hierarchy instructing the junior cadres to lay mines in close vicinity to Security Forces defences and the routes which are used by the Security Forces personnel taking advantage of the situation of halting the offensive operations in this festive period.
In view of this, ground troops have been instructed to monitor the situation very closely.
Security Forces reserve the right to take appropriate measures to prevent such actions by the LTTE"