Disappearances may be reprisals
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 06 October 1998, 21:05 GMT]
Twenty four Tamils are reported missing in the village of Koppaveli, 30 kilometers north west of Batticaloa from the early hours of the morning today said Divisional Secretary (DS) of Chenkalady.
The twenty four persons, all males between 15 and 40, were sleeping in the field where they had been working yesterday when armed personnel suspected to be members of the Sri Lankan security forces had arrested and taken them away around 3.30 a.m. in the morning.
Family members of thirteen of the missing persons met Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham, TULF MP for Batticaloa, this afternoon.
He sent off faxes to the Sri Lankan President and the Deputy Minister of Defence urging them to take immediate action locate the twenty four missing persons from Koppaveli.
There are three Special Task Force (STF) camps at Maha Oya, Tempitiya and Arantalawa near Batticaloa's district border that are close to Koppaveli said the MP.
Elite Commandos from one of these camps, according to the MP, appear to have been involved in the abduction of the villagers.
He pointed out that seven persons from this area went missing under similar circumstances in May last year and that thirteen woodcutters went missing between December 20 and 24 in 1995.
The STF denied any knowledge of the arrests despite evidence that the commandos were involved in the abduction of these persons.
Mr. Pararajasingham has repeatedly appealed to government and raised the matter in Parliament often.
However the Sri Lankan government has not taken any action to investigate the fate of these persons the MP said.
Relatives of the persons abducted this morning expressed fear that they might have been killed.
Mr. Pararajasingham said that Tamil civilians have been killed by the Sri Lankan security forces in the past in retaliation to LTTE attacks on army targets.
He referred to the large number of persons who went missing in Jaffna in the aftermath of the SLA's debacle in Mullaithivu and the massacre of civilians in the Mayilanthanai village, north west of Batticaloa on August 8, 1992 when SLA commander Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa was killed in Jaffna.
The Liberation Tigers overran the SLA Kilinochchi base last week.