SLA balks at returning vehicles to Jaffna owners

[TamilNet, Saturday, 30 September 2006, 02:40 GMT]
Sri Lankan Army (SLA) officials are refusing to return the vehicles appropriated from Jaffna traders and residents under emergency regulations for military use following clashes between the Liberation Tigers and the SLA broke out in Jaffna district on 11 August, said the vehicle owners in a complaint registered with the Government Agent (GA) of Jaffna, Ganesh, Friday. 106 lorries, several mini-vans and a large number of motorbikes belonging to Jaffna residents are currently being used by the SLA, sources in Jaffna said.

The total cost of the Lorries is more than Rs. 300m, according to civilian estimates.

When the clashes broke out, armed SLA soldiers went to private residents located in close proximity to the army camps and forcibly took vehicles to transport ammunition and reinforcements to the battlefronts.

Even though the Government had previously announced over the radio, and the SLA told the owners privately, that SLA will be providing rental fees for the vehicles, no payments have been made yet, the owners said.

When the owners had gone to the SLA camps in search of their vehicles SLA soldiers had threatened owners and warned them not to return to SLA camps again, owners complained.

Since the vehicles are being used for transporting ammunition, including artillery shells to the Forward Defense Lines (FDL), the owners fear that their vehicles might suffer damages if the hostilities between the parties continue. The owners requested the GA to intervene in this matter, speak with the SLA hierarchy and find an amicable solution to the matter, sources said.

Meanwhile, 26 Lorries, parked at the Muhamalai Military Checkpoint when the clashes broke out, were completely destroyed by artillery fire.


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