Biggest ever search operation in Colombo
[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
A massive combined security forces operation was launched in the city and suburbs of Colombo in the early hours of the morning today. The Sri Lankan army, Navy, Airforce and Police completely sealed all entrances to the city by 1.00 am.
All residents of the city were instructed through special bulletins in the state and private media to stay indoors while the cordon and search operation was on.
The unofficial curfew was lifted around 9.30 a.m. this morning.
The operations of the combined security forces were conducted mainly in the Colombo municipality area. Neighbourhoods near downtown Colombo such as Pettah, Kotehena and Jampettah where Tamils live and do business in large numbers were closely searched.
Several busloads of Tamils including a large number of young girls were taken by the security forces for interrogation from each area. The Police has said that it has taken in only 987 Tamils.
However, well informed sources said that reports from all over the city indicate that at least two thousand Tamils may have been arrested since the early hours of the morning.
These sources said that at least three busloads of arrested Tamils were taken from each neighbourhood by the Sri Lankan security forces while the operation was on.
A large number of policemen were brought into Colombo yesterday evening specially for this operation mainly from the hill country towns such as Ratnapura and Matale.
This is the largest search operation by the Sri Lankan security forces in the city of Colombo since 1987.