Four villagers reported missing

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 December 1998, 16:56 GMT]
Four Tamil civilians were reported missing from the village of Koppaveli, about 26 kilometers north-west of Batticaloa this morning. A group of five civilians had gone into the jungle in the area to chop fire wood in the early hours of the morning today when they had been surrounded by well armed persons in commando fatigues.

One of these, Maruthamuththu Pathmanathan, 23, escaped the gunmen, to return home and alert villagers.

Residents of Koppaveli said that the four men had been taken by commandos of the Special Task Force (STF) which has a base close to the Sinhala-Tamil border.

The whereabouts of the missing wood cutters is still not known said their relatives.

The four Koppaveli villagers who went missing from this morning are:

1.K.Gunaseelan,19
2.V.Bernard de Alwis, 28
3.Kanagasbhai Thesangi,26
4.Mariyanthambi Thevaraj, 28

The relatives of the these persons who went missing trekked many miles from Koppaveli to petition Mr.Joseph Pararajasigham MP (TULF, Batticaloa) that the government should ensure the safe return of the wood cutters.

The Batticaloa MP contacted the Maha Oya STF base which is closest to Koppaveli to determine the whereabouts of the missing wood cutters.

The STF denied any knowledge of the Koppaveli village or its residents.

 

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