Military arrests unarmed Tigers

[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 July 2002, 10:15 GMT]
The Sri Lankan military took five unarmed members of the Liberation Tigers into custody in two separate incidents Wednesday, triggering tensions and anger amongst Tamils in Trincomalee, residents said. The LTTE’s political section in the eastern district strongly condemned the military’s actions as a breach of the ceasefire agreement.

"The arrests of our cadres and the refusal of the police to release them immediately despite instructions by superior police officers have challenged the smooth implementation of the cease-fire agreement signed by the government and the LTTE," said Mr.A.Ruban, Trincomalee district political secretary of the LTTE in a hurriedly arranged press briefing Thursday afternoon.

The Sri Lanka Navy arrested three LTTE members when they were travelling by boat from Upparu to Sampoor in Mutur east area Wednesday morning. The navy intercepted the boat, security sources said. One of the LTTE members had a walkie-talkie, but the group did not carry arms at the time of arrest.

The second incident also took place Wednesday morning between Kanniya and Vilgam Vihare where the army arrested two more LTTE members. Neither were carrying arms. Mr. Ruban said the arrested LTTE cadres were not within 600-meters specified military areas and hence there was no cause for arrest.

The five LTTE members are now being held in Trincomalee prisons. International monitors had not involved themselves in the case thus far, Mr. Ruben said.

"It would be difficult for us to take forward the peace process if the unwarranted arrests and humiliation of our members for no reasons continue. Some sections of the State armed forces are still engaged in sabotaging the smooth implementation of the cease-fire agreement signed by our leader with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka", stressed Mr. Ruban.

He said "the government should take stern action against those police officers who refuse to carry out the instruction given by their superiors. In this instance the Senior Superintendent of Police and Headquarters Inspector of Police had ordered the release of the arrested LTTE cadres promptly. But a police officer who work under these superiors refused to release them stating flimsy reasons. This clearly shows that this said officer is engaged in sabotaging the peace process from being taken forward "

"The time has come for the Government to identify the members of State armed forces who are engaged in sabotaging the implementation of the cease-fire agreement. We have reported this matter to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Trincomalee,” said Mr. Ruban.

"We will not allow any one to sabotage the implementation of the cease-fire agreement. We will give ourselves to safeguard the agreement. Our leader has been working with lot of confidence in implementing it. We will not do any thing that would mar his undertaking," said Mr. Ruban.


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