2ND LEAD

SLA mistook Muslim villagers for LTTE cadres, say escapees

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 July 2007, 11:50 GMT]
Four Muslim villagers were shot dead by Special Forces of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Maavilaaru at Serunuwara on Friday around 2:00 p.m., were mistaken for cadres of Liberation Tigers, two villagers who escaped the slaying told media Saturday. Sources in the east said SLA has been counducting search operations in Maavilaaru area to prevent LTTE cadre movement in Kudumpimalai (Thoppikkal) jungles.

"We pleaded with the SLA soldiers not to kill us and that we were not members of the LTTE. But they fired at us killing four of us," the escaped fishermen told the media.

SLA handed over the Four bodies to Kanthalaay hospital, hospital sources said.

When the relatives of the victims went to collect the bodies to the hospital they were told by the military officials that the LTTE had killed them.

North Central Provincial Chief minister, Berty Premalal, told the relatives Saturday evening he will make arrangements to release the bodies. According to Islamic traditions, the dead bodies (Janaza) must be buried within 24 hours.

National Security Media center had claimed that the LTTE cadres "escaping from Thoppigala," shot and killed four Sinhala civilians in Maavilaaru on Friday.


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