STF commandos stay on in hospital
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 October 2003, 13:57 GMT]
Special Task Force (STF), the elite counter
insurgency arm of the Sri Lankan armed forces, said
Wednesday it would further delay moving out of the
Thirukkovil District Hospital, 76 kilometres south of
Batticaloa. The hospital, which is in the midst of a
large Tamil village, has been garrisoned by the STF
for 17 years despite protests by local rights
activists and politicians.
During several rounds of talks with the Liberation
Tigers, the MP for the area and the Sri Lanka
Monitoring Mission (SLMM) on measures for restoring
normalcy in the region last year, senior STF officers
promised to vacate the hospital by the beginning of
|TamilNet Library photo|
On Wednesday the head of the LTTE's political division
for the Batticaloa-Amparai District, Mr. E. Kousalyan,
and the head of the LTTE's political division for
Amparai, Mr. Bawa, met an STF delegation led by senior
officer for the region, Mr. Upul Seniveratna, to
resume discussions on outstanding issues, which are
continuing to hinder the return to normal life in the
islandís southeastern coast and its hinterlands.
The meeting was arranged at the office of the SLMM in
Akkaraipattu, a Tamil/Muslim town 64 kilometres south
STF officers told Mr. Kousalyan that they are
considering a building in the village of Kalliyanthivu
on the western outskirts of Thirukkovil as a possible
venue for relocating their camp in the hospital.
The multi purpose building was completed last month
under the World Bank funded NorthEast Irrigated
Agriculture Project (NEIAP) and is managed by the
Kalliyanthivu Rural Development Society (RDS).
STF officers also told the Liberation Tigers that they
(STF) would soon move from their camp occupying the
village of Kanjirankudah, about five kilometres south
But the new camp, which is situated about hundred
metres from the present location at the Kanjirankudah
Junction, would still occupy part of the village,
preventing villagers from resettling in their homes.
Commandos chased away ten families that resettled near
the new camp this week.
STF garrisoned Kanjirankudah thirteen years ago after
driving out all its residents and banning cultivation
in the fertile fields around the village.
The Liberation Tigers urged the STF to come up soon
with a viable solution to the predicament of the long
displaced residents of Kanjirankudah.
However, the STF agreed to remove its camp on the
Akkaraipattu - Kanjirankudah Road at Saahamam. The
camp here straddles this interior road through the
regionís large rice belt, blocking traffic. STF said
they would move the camp to a side and open the route
when repairs to the road begin.
The LTTE officials also raised the question of the STF
continuing to occupy the Agrarian Services
Departmentís office in Komari, a Tamil village about
20 kilomertres south of Thirukkovil. STF officers said
they would pull out of the building soon and move into
a new camp built at Karappaankerni, on the southern
outskirts of Komari. STF occupies both places now.
Responding to concerns raised by STF officers about a
new structure the LTTE is building at Pavatta, in the
interior west of Thirukkovil, Mr. Kousalyan said that
it was their political/administrative office for the