SLA troops advance to LTTE lines - report
[TamilNet, Sunday, 30 June 2002, 00:54 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) units in the Kilali-Nagerkoil axis in the Jaffna peninsula have advanced closer to the positions of the Liberation Tigers and taken up positions well inside the minimum separation distance stipulated in the ceasefire agreement, according to complaints received by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), Tamil press reports said this week.
The Suder Oli newspaper said Thursday the LTTE commander of the Nagar Kovil region. Colonel Theepan, had a few weeks ago filed a complaint with the SLMM in which he detailed that three SLA posts had been constructed in the Muhamalai area within 100m, 110m and 130m of LTTE forward defence lines (FDLs) and another two SLA posts had been established in Nagar Kovil are 40m and 90 metres away from LTTE lines.
Clause 1.4 of the ceasefire accord signed in February by the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan government says that, “Where forward defence localities have been established, the Government of Sri Lanka(GOSL)'s armed forces and the LTTE's fighting formations shall hold their ground positions, maintaining a zone of separation of a minimum of six hundred (600) metres. However, each Party reserves the right of movement within one hundred (100) metres of its own defence localities, keeping an absolute minimum distance of four hundred (400) metres between them.”
In a second complaint to the SLMM, Col. Theepen said seventeen more reinforced sentry posts and bunkers had been newly constructed by the SLA in the Kandal area of Muhamalai, the Suder Oli said. Maps detailing the points of contention were also submitted to the SLMM.
The SLMM's liaison officer for the LTTE and its Jaffna representative visited the areas twice with Col Theepen to monitor the situation, the Suder Oli said. A group of LTTE members who went to survey one of the new bunkers were met by a group from the Sri Lanka army, who were told of the impending complaint to the SLMM.
Another incident where Sri Lankan soldiers had provocatively advanced close to LTTE lines in Veppodukerni area and removed roof tiles from a house was also mentioned in the complaint, the paper said.