Tamil gunmen operating with Colombo troops
[TamilNet, Friday, 10 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Armed men in civilian clothing who accompany uniformed Sri Lankan security forces personnel, including police, during cordon and search operations in Colombo are strongly suspected to be members of certain ex-Tamil militant groups now working with the SLA as para-military units, a human rights lawyer, who was not willing to be identified, told TamilNet.
Tamil residents claim that these persons accompanying the uniformed forces speak impeccable Tamil, making it obvious that they are not Sinhalese, who form the overwhelming majority of the police and security forces in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Siresena Herath, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Colombo Range) cautioned residents that they should only allow uniformed personnel into their homes. He said that under the law, only uniformed personnel are entitled to enter homes during cordon and search operations.
Despite these warnings, armed but non-uniformed persons take part in the search operations and Tamils living in Colombo allow these persons into their homes through fear, said the lawyer.
This deplorable state of affairs had also led to criminals entering homes in the guise of security personnel and robbing residents at gun point, he said.
Members of the ex-Tamil militant groups work with the SLA in the areas under it's control and take part in operations against the LTTE. They are also used as spotters to identify LTTE members and sympathisers.
Besides the ex-Tamil militant groups, other groups that have broken away from the PLOTE and EPRLF, such as the Mohan Group and the Razeek Group function as spotters for the SLA and conduct combat operations against the LTTE.