Protest against SLA pull out

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 March 1999, 12:54 GMT]
Shops and businesses were closed today in the pilgrimage town of Kathirgamam (Kataragama in Sinhala) in southern Sri Lanka to protest against the removal of three SLA camps from the area.

Sri Lankan Police sources in the Tissamaharama said that soldiers from Kathirgamam were being pulled out to be redeployed in the areas taken recently by Op.Rana Gosa II. They denied reports that the troops were pulled out to provide security for the provincial council elections on April 6.

Residents and Buddhist monks in the area said that they do not want the SLA to pull out troops because the LTTE will be able to enter Kathiragamam and neighbouring towns through the Yala wild life sanctuary.

The SLA deployed a brigade in Kathirgamam and the Yala forests two years ago following reports that the Liberation Tigers were active in these parts. The Yala wildlife sanctuary lies on the southeatern coast, extending into the southern province from the Ampara district.

The Liberation Tigers, according to the SLA, have access to Yala from their bases in the Kanjikudichcha Aaru jungles, about 85 kilometers south of Batticaloa.


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