POWs released on humanitarian grounds

[TamilNet, Monday, 28 February 2000, 18:21 GMT]
The four POWs were released today on instructions by the leader of the Liberation Tigers Mr.V.Pirapaharan, on humanitarian grounds, responding to requests made by their parents, wives and children, the Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio said today in its night broadcast.

The radio said Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan, the leader of the Political Wing, handed over the POWs to their relatives at Mallavi at 11.30 a.m., in the presence of ICRC delegates.

The Liberation Tigers released the four detainees without any conditions on humanitarian grounds, the radio said.

The Spokesman of the ICRC in Colombo, Mr. Harsha Gunawardene, said the relatives and the released POW detainees crossed the line between the LTTE held areas and the government held areas at Piramanalankulam around 7.35 p.m. today.

The released POWs, 3 SLA soldier and a naval personnel, were officially handed over to the Sri Lanka Army and Navy officials at the 21-1 Brigade Command at the Ramyah House in Vavuniya at 9.30 p.m., Mr. Gunawardene said.

He said the relatives were transported to Anuradhapura and they will continue their journey towards Colombo tomorrow morning.

The three soldiers were arrested by the Liberation Tigers when they overran the large Pooneryn SLA base in November 1993, while SLN personnel was arrested when the Tigers sunk the naval ship 'Sagarawardene' in September1994.

Mr. Gunawardene thanked the Liberation Tigers and the Ministry of Defence for the co-operation rendered to the ICRC to accomplish the mission of taking the relatives to the Vanni and bringing them and the released detainees from there, successfully.


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