Arrests over Halo Trust vandalism

[TamilNet, Monday, 05 July 2004, 23:14 GMT]
Six former employees of the HALO Trust have been arrested over their involvement in the recent attack on the British mine clearing agency’s vehicles in Jaffna, The Island newspaper reported Sunday.

According to the Halo Trust, about 20 masked men set fire to three trucks and two Land Rovers. They had also smashed the windscreens of about 20 vehicles.

The Island also quoted the agency’s administrator, Ms. Linda Kumnova, as saying the total damage was estimated at around US $ 50,000.

The reason for the destruction of the vehicles was not known.

But several people who had worked for the organisation told Reuters news agency that workers were not allowed adequate breaks or given reasons for dismissals, and were not properly compensated for injuries related to their demining work.

"At this point it is impossible to say as to who the perpetrators might have been, however two groups are currently under suspicion. They knew exactly what they were doing and we are sure that this is not the first time they were involved in this kind of operation," the Halo Trust said in a statement.

The Island quoted a senior police investigator as saying there was “no doubt” those arrested were involved in the attack.

Whilst The Island quoted ‘an authoritative army official’ as saying the attack "could not have taken place without the LTTE’s knowledge,” but shortly after the attack, The Sunday Leader said investigating police officers “dismissed rumours that this attack could have been carried out by the LTTE."

 

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