Jaffna homeowners return to find rubble

[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Last Sunday, the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) allowed 150 people, from 75 families, to go and inspect their homes in the villages of Iyakkachchi, Kottandan Kulam and Uraniyan Patru. The civilians were escorted by the army and checked at the SLA post in Tharmakerni.

Iyakkachchi is 3 km north of the large SLA base at Elephant Pass.

Displaced residents were shocked to see that their houses had been demolished and valuable trees like coconut, mango and jack fruit had been cut down.They said the area was beyond recognition.

All of the houses on either side of the Jaffna Kandy road, except one used by the Army, that is situated between Viddal Thotam and Iyakkachchi,have been razed to the ground, said the residents.

The Government School in Iyakkachchi, shops and market buildings at Iyakkachchi junction have been also demolished and only piles of bricks remain, they added

Except for the statue, the church at Iyakkachchi junction has been completely destroyed, they said.

Statues of Lord Buddha were found within some of the Hindu temples and there were also signs that the temples had been recently used.

Meanwhile, the Army welcomed the residents and reassured them that they would be allowed to resettle in the area once they had finished removing the landmines, said sources.


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