Tigers escorted SLA troops

[TamilNet, Saturday, 19 October 2002, 08:55 GMT]
(News Feature) In a reciprocal gesture to earlier actions by the Sri Lanka Army, cadres of the Liberation Tigers in Batticaloa last Sunday escorted SLA soldiers through areas in which angry Tamil demonstrators had set up road blocks protesting the earlier killings of several civilians by Special Task Force (STF) commandos.

TamilNet sources in Batticaloa said that up to one hundred and twenty SLA soldiers in the Batticaloa district seeking to leave the area either on leave or urgent official matters were prevented from doing so by road blocks set up by protestors.

The SLA subsequently approached the LTTE, the sources said. Having obtained permission from Col Karuna, the LTTE’s Special Commander for Batticaloa-Ampara area, LTTE officials provided escort for the SLA soldiers from Iruthayapuram within the municipality border.

The contingent of Sri Lankan troops travelling in two APCs, a bus and a van, led by Major Mangala Perera were escorted by LTTE cadres including the head of LTTE’s political section in Batticalao city, Mr. I. Senathiraja, his assistant Kuyilan, the head of the Women’s section of the political wing, Ms Gaya, her assistant and LTTE's coordinator with SLA Varathan who travelled in a van and 2 motor cycles.

Protestors who were observing the hartal by putting up road blocks in Vantharamulai, Kiran, Valaichchenai protested and argued with the LTTE officials for initiating vehicular traffic contrary to the aims of their protest.

But the LTTE-escorted convoy was able to travel after the Tigers explained that they were providing escort to the Sinhala soldiers as part of the cordial relationship with SLA and that there was no intention of disrupting the hartal.

The hartal had been organised in response to the killing of seven protestors people by Special Task Force personnel during a public demonstration outside an STF camp Wednesday. Fourteen people were wounded in the incident.

Public anger was fuelled by the killing of three Tamils and wounding of up to sixty other last Friday during a peaceful hartal in the eastern port town when gunmen suspected to be Sinhala homeguards and activists of the Sinhala Nationalist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) attacked the Tamil suburbs with grenades and gunfire.

On September 24, a large number of Liberation Tigers from Batticaloa-Ampara district travelled to the Vanni region by road, escorted by Sri Lankan troops.

The LTTE cadres travelled in five buses and 2 pick ups and were met by SLA troops at Black Bridge in Chenkalady. The vehicles in which the LTTE members were travelling were escorted to Vavuniya by two SLA armoured personnel carriers at the front and back of the convoy.

Later Sri Lankan police escorted the cadres from Vavuniya to Omanthai where they were received by LTTE representatives from the Vanni.

 

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