SLA concealing casualties - MP
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Mr. Joseph Pararajahsingham MP (TULF), when contacted by Tamil Net's European Correspondent, said today that he believes the number of casualties sustained in the recent fighting by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) are higher than the figures announced by the Deputy Defence Minister, General Anurudha Ratwatte, in parliament today.
The Deputy Defence Minister said that between May 24 and June 8, 208 Sri Lankan soldiers, including 10 officers were killed while 1536 soldiers, including 55 officers, were wounded. The Minister also said' intercepted radio communications indicate that 225 Tigers were killed and 600 injured in the same period.'
Commenting on General Ratwatte's figures Mr Pararajahsingham said that he believed the army has sustained higher casualties than announced. He said that the level of casualties were inidicative of the stiff resistance being offered by the LTTE in the Vanni. "The army did not calculate for this level of resistance" he said. He added that he expected the LTTE to continue to fiercely resist the SLA operation.
Mr Pararajahsinham believes that the SL government imposed military censorship to conceal the setbacks the SLA has suffered in the Vanni. "When the government imposed military censorship it became clear that the forces were not able to push through at the warfront," he said.
The MP also disputed the Government's claim that the road was needed to supply the Jaffna peninsula. "If the intention is to open a supply route for the benefit of the civilian population it could have been negotiated with the LTTE through the ICRC. The intention is to see that supplies go to the military" he said.
Expressing disappointment with the Government's approach to the ethnic question Mr Pararajahsingham said "the ethnic problem is political and can only be settled politically, not militarily."