Youths missing after arrest

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Five youths were taken into custody by home guards at Koyilporatheevu, 25 km north-west Batticaloa on March 31, while they were catching hares in the paddy fields and shrubs in the area, said sources in Batticaloa. The five youths, who are from Aliyarvattai in the 35th Colony of the Gal Oya scheme, were arrested when they crossed into the village of 36th Colony.

Colony 35 has a majority of Tamil residents, while Colony 36 is dominated by Sinhalese settlers who have encroached on the area over the years with state backing.

Nothing has been heard of the five boys since they were taken into custody by the Sinhala home guards, said sources. There are strong suspicions that they may have been murdered.

The youths' parents are too poor and scared to undertake the long journey to Batticaloa town to seek the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross said a relative of one of the missing boys.

Such incidents are not uncommon on the border between Sinhala and Tamil villages in the Eastern province.

Home guards, who are an armed militia raised in the Sinhala and Muslim villages on the periphery of the Eastern province are regularly accused of harassing Tamil civilians living in villages close to the borders.

 

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