Sri Lanka's PM visits military frontline

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 August 2004, 16:21 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha Tuesday visited the military frontlines of Weli Oya. He inspected defences on the Forward Defence Lines that separate areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) in this disputed region in the southern corner of the Mullaithivu district. Prime Minister Rajapaksha spoke to Sri Lanka army officers and the Sinhala settlers in Weli Oya during his visit. SLA drove out Tamils from fourteen villages in this region overnight in 1984. GOSL then armed and settled Sinhala convicts here amidst SLA camps.

Prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa visits Forward Defence Line
PM Mahinda Rajapaksha peering through a bunker on the frontline

The region, called Manalaaru (sandy river) in Tamil, was created as a strategic wedge to break the territorial and demographic contiguity of the northeast.

It was renamed Weli Oya after the Tamil villages were forcibly evacuated in 1984.

The Liberation Tigers have been demanding that the Tamils driven out of their traditional villages in Manalaaru should be resettled in their villages.

In November 1999 LTTE forces overran the northwestern sector of Manalaaru and consolidated it. The SLA pulled back its forward defences.

 

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