Civilians clear protected vegetation
[TamilNet, Thursday, 24 December 1998, 22:31 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) forced civilians in the Aarumukaththaankudiyiruppu area, north of Batticaloa, this morning to clear the thick rattan undergrowth on the roadside before the weekly convoy passed the area. The cutting of Rattan plant (cane, genera Calamus and Daemonothops) is strictly prohibited under environmental laws in Sri Lanka.
The cane is great demand, however, due to the large variety of furniture and houshold ornaments made with it.
The SLA was apprehensive as the previous convoy had been attacked with grenades and small arms, and a soldier had been killed and eight others wounded.
The soldiers had fired at random later this afternoon when the convoy was passing through Morokkottaanchenai, 26 kilometers north of Batticaloa, on the trunk road, wounding a Kanapathippillai Yogenthiran 20, who was fishing in the lagoon.
Meanwhile, the Special Task Force discovered a bomb concealed in a parcel near Aaraiampathy junction this afternoon. Police sources said the bomb weighed 10 kilograms. It was blasted by the SLA bomb squad later around 1.30 p.m.