Gunmen loot travellers in Mannampitiya

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 June 2005, 08:41 GMT]
Two armed men in military fatigue blocked vehicles travelling towards Batticaloa via Polannaruwa-Batticaloa road around 3.30 AM Tuesday morning at Mannampitiya and looted money and valuables worth Rs 300,000 from passengers in at least two vehicles, sources said. The armed men were standing 200 meters away from a military checkpoint for almost two hours.

The robbers spoke broken Tamil and had to converse in Sinhala with the victims during the looting, sources said.

When one of the victims complained to Sri Lankan Army (SLA) soldiers stationed at the closest SLA checkpoint, soldiers in duty refused to visit the spot and directed the victims to the Police at Sevenapitya.

The Police officers who then came along with the victim also refused to approach the robbers, saying they were not in a position to engage themselves with armed men whom they thought belonged to an armed group.

Mr A M Aziz Hajiar, a businessman who was travelling in his new van from Colombo to Katankuddy was robbed of 55 000 rupees in cash, two cell phones and two gold watches. Another traveller, an owner of an ELF lorry from Oddamavady, Valaichenai, lost 59 000 rupees in cash to the armed men, sources said.

Liberation Tigers accuse the Sri Lanka Military Intelligence for employing paramilitary cadres in the remote interior villages on the Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa border to carry out a proxy war against them in the east.

SLA says the violence is due to independent factions of paramilitary groups and denies that they are involved.

 

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