Officials told to safeguard vehicles

[TamilNet, Monday, 15 February 1999, 20:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) issued instructions to all government departments in Batticaloa today regarding the use of their vehicles.

The heads of the departments have been told that:

1.No one except the employees and officials of the respective department should be taken in the vehicles.

2.Department vehicles should run only on the main roads cleared by the army for its own use; drivers should avoid lanes and by-roads.

3.If dept.vehicles have to leave the town or the district they should go only when the army clears the main road for its convoys to pass through.

4.The vehicles should be parked in safe places. Parking at the private residences of officials and drivers is prohibited.

5.The respective head of department would be solely held responsible if a vehicle is taken away by the Liberation Tigers.

Batticaloa SLA commander, Brigadier R.M Zacky, has also told the government departments in Batticaloa that officials should check with the Army and Police if thier vehicles are required by security forces personnel.

This should be done as there is no need for the army or the Police to requisition government department vehicles he said.

The SLA issued the regulations with a view to preventing the Liberation Tigers from taking away government vehicles with ease from Batticaloa town.

The government and the army suspect collusion between the Tigers and local government officials.

The SLA's regulations come in the wake of the Liberation Tigers removing two government vehicles from the high security zone of Batticaloa town this month.

On February 12, the Tigers took a jeep from the Department of Surveys in the town and drove it through SLA and Police checkpoints to Thalavaai, 16 kilometers north of Batticaloa, whence they had taken it by sea to the coast controlled by them north of Vaakarai.

Earlier, on February 3, the Tigers took away a tractor belonging to the Municipal commissioner's office from the town along with its trailer. The tractor was taken to Thalavaai and thence by sea to areas controlled by the Tigers. The trailer was left behind.

The army told the municipal authorities to bring back the trailer from Thalavaai; the the council refused to carry out the army's instructions. Later the Tigers took away the trailer too.

The army launched a limited 'clearing' operation on Sunday between the coastal areas immediately north of the town to Kaluwankerny, a fishing village 20 kilometers north of Batticaloa.

The operation is aimed at interdicting the routes used by the Tigers to take vehicles out of Batticaloa town, said a local leader of a paramilitary group operating with the army.

The government and the army are harsh on officers whose vehicles are taken away by the LTTE.

Mr.S Nadarajah who was an asisstant government agent in Batticaloa was arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act for letting the Tigers take away his oficial vehicle at Kaluwanchikudy in 1992.

He was held in detention for more than six months and was interdicted from his post.

The official vehicles of the Eravur Pattu Divisional Secretary (DS) and the Pattipalai DS were also taken away by the Tigers. The government has not permitted them to replace the lost vehicles.

 

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