SLA asks for villagers' support

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 November 1999, 18:43 GMT]
Sinhalese villagers in the Manal Aru (Weli Oye) region are being asked to support the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) resist advances by the Liberation Tigers into the eastern region, said sources in Trincomalee today.

SLA officials have told villagers that the garrison town of Vavuniya, had been strengthened by extra troops and they should not be afraid, the sources said.

However, villagers were leaving the area, fearing further fighting, the sources said.

The Liberation Tigers have overrun six SLA camps in the Manal Aru region, the sources added.

SLA outposts and camps in the Trincomalee region have been closed and troops relocated, the sources said, but could not say if the troops were sent to Vavuniya.

The Manal Aru region connects the northern and eastern parts of the Tamil areas of the island. The Sri Lankan government started a process of colonising this area two decades ago and renamed it Weli Oya (a literal translation of the Tamil name).

Thousands of Tamil residents were forcibly driven out of eighteen traditional villages in Manalaaru and from the large old village of Thennamaravaadi almost overnight by the SLA in 1984, as a prelude to colonisation by Sinhalese settlers.

More than ten Tamil villages were also destroyed later as part of the SLA strategy to secure the Sinhala colonies in the region.


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