SLA continue to abandon checkpoints in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 22 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The large number of Palmyrah logs piled up as bunkers in many parts of Vadamaradchi are being removed by people for firewood as the Sri Lankan army continues to move out of some of its positions in the Jaffna peninsula.

The army has abandoned several checkpoints and defence positions which it set up in early 1996 in the Vallai Veli between Acthuveli and the Vallai junction.

Parts of the six foot high defence walls (bunds) which were made by bulldozing sand and debris from bombed out houses, and which wound through Karaveddi, Karanavai and Navindil are being removed since last week.

In Aavarangaal, Puththur, Neerveli and Siruppiddi farmers have begun cultivation by the SLA's bunkers which are not regularly manned now.

Travellers say that there used to be sixteen SLA checkpoints between Pt.Pedro and Jaffna town. They had to get down at each, to walk between points before boarding their vehicles again or to be subject to checks.

They say that since early this month it has become possible to travel all the way from Irupalai to Vallai junction without having to get down at any military point.

This appears to be the case due to shortage of troops currently faces by the SLA to man all the checkpoints, though a minimal number is being maintained in all the camps along this route.

The situation has changed on the Jaffna - Chavakachcheri road as well. Vehicles can now travel freely between Navatkuly and Chavakachcheri.

Meanwhile the defence walls of sand and debris which cut through the lands of local farmers of Annangai from Urumpirai to Kondavil are also being removed since last week.

Farming in areas through which the wall was built was banned after the SLA moved in during Operation Riviresa in late 1995. farmers in the area are hopeful of resuming cultivation soon.

 

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