350 eastern villagers arrested
[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 December 1998, 15:09 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) arrested more than 350 civilians in the villages of Kondaiankerny, Kinnaiady, Sungaankerni and Karuvaakerny near Valaichenai, 32 kilometers north of Batticaloa, this morning for interrogation in connection with the activities of the Liberation Tigers in the area.
The villagers were herded by troops to the SLA camp at the Kumburumoolai junction, 3 kilometers south of Valaichenai.
Meanwhile, Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham MP (TULF) who saw them when he was passing by the camp on his way from Colombo, according to Police sources in Valaichenai, had contacted the officer in charge of the detachment and told him that the villagers were innocent and hence should be released with out delay.
He had also pointed out to the officer that there were several school children among the detained villagers.
The SLA officer had then agreed to release some of the students who have to sit tomorrow for the GCE (O.L) exams that are currently in progress all over the island.
The others were later sent to the Valaichenai Police station for further interrogation. Police sources said that none had been released until this evening.
The army, according to residents had rounded up the villages following the discovery of a claymore mine in the area last week.