Two hour fire-fight in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
Heavy fighting erupted in Nagar Kovil in Vadamaradchi east around 9.30 a.m. in the morning yesterday when the Liberation Tigers confronted a Sri Lankan army patrol that had entered the area.

Casualty figures were not available, however residents confirmed that the fighting lasted for more than two hours.

The southeastern coast of the Jaffna peninsula between Nagar Kovil and Vettilaikerni is still not under the Sri Lankan army's control. The SLA occasionally moves into the area on limited patrols.

Severe restrictions on food, fuel, medicine, cash and general amenities have been imposed by the SLA on the population living here. The army believes that by doing this it can prevent the local population from providing succour to attack groups of the LTTE which are based in this region.

Schools in Kudathanai, Ambanai and Nagar Kovil were closed following the firefight. The Amban hospital was also shut down. The Maruthankerni - Pt. Pedro road was deserted as a result of the confrontation until about 3 p.m. in the afternoon yesterday.

Meanwhile two poor fishermen from the same area have been reported missing since they set out to sea on Nov. 2. One has been identified as Hudson, 20 and the other as Mayooran , 33.

Residents said that although there is no official ban on fishing in these parts, the army and the navy rarely check before they fire on fishermen from the coast south of Nagar Kovil who may stray more than half a kilometer from the shore as this area is considered 'uncleared' by them.


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