3rd Lead (Adds details, corrections)

17 SLA recruits hospitalized, force fed plastic explosives

[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 February 2005, 03:20 GMT]
Seventeen Sri Lanka Army (SLA) new recruits were transported to the Anuradhapura General Hospital by special helicopter after being admitted to the Vavuniya Hospital emergency ward with suspected food positioning, medical sources said. The soldiers are from the Kokkoveli army camp in Vavuniya district.

SLA Medical officier, Dr Pradeep, who attended the soldiers when they were first admitted said that the soldiers were weak after a prolonged period of vomiting and the suspicion centered around some material that the soldiers ate at the camp.

A soldier affected by the illness during a preliminary inquiry had told the Police that the trainers at the camp have forced the new recruits to 'eat plastic explosives' against their wishes, sources said.

Security sources said that an instructor alleged to have taken part in the incident has absonded.

Meanwhile, SLA officers at the Vavuniya General Hospital had allegedly prevented local media reporters who went to the hospital around 11 p.m from obtaining information on the state of the sick soldiers. Vanni Reporters Union has sent a complaint to the Major General Shantha Kotegoda on the behavior of the SLA officers, urging Maj Gen Kotegoda to investigate the matter without delay.

The Union expressed regret that the mutual understanding that existed between the SLA and the Media reporters has been damaged by the behavior of the SLA officers at the Vavuniya Hospital, sources said.

 

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