STF bars mourners, assault LTTE activist

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 February 2005, 10:45 GMT]
Commandos of the Special Task Force (STF) Wednesday assaulted an LTTE political worker who was putting up black flags in Komari to mourn Mr. Kousalyan, slain by gunmen suspected to be working with the Sri Lankan military. Komari is Tsunami devastated Tamil village on Sri Lanka’s remote southeast coast. STF, the elite counter insurgency arm of the Sri Lankan armed forces, prohibited black flags in the village. In Mandaanai, north of Komari, Tsunami refugees protested against the STF Wednesday for preventing them from mourning the slain LTTE political leader.

From a welfare camp in the East
Mandanai welfare camp (Libray Photo)
 From a welfare camp in the East
STF soldiers in Komari welfare camp (Libray Photo)
One of the largest camps for Tsunami refugees on the southeast coast is located in Mandaanai in the Thirukkovil region, 76 kilometres south of Batticaloa.

The protest was sparked when STF barred inmates of the camp from putting up black flags and other funerary decorations Wednesday morning to mourn Mr. Kousalyan who had often visited the shelter to inquire after the refugees’ needs.

Armed STF commandos control all Tsunami refugee camps on the southeast coast despite protests by Tamil Parliamentarians and civil society groups that it is against humanitarian norms for armed soldiers to be present inside these shelters.

Mr. Puratchiharan, the LTTE political worker who was assaulted by the STF in Komari, complained to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.


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