Paramilitaries assigned larger role

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 January 1999, 19:56 GMT]
Sri Lanka's army commander, Lt.Gen. Sri Lal Weerasooriya, told the leaders of the Raazeek group and the TELO in Batticaloa that they will have to recruit more Tamil youth from the east to fight the Liberation Tigers and hold areas that would be captured from them soon.

The SLA commander saw the leaders of the two paramilitary groups yesterday around 2 p.m. at the 233 brigade headquarters in Batticaloa town, following a meeting in the morning with his officers, including the local brigade commander Col.A Zacky (formerly the chief of the military intelligence unit in Batticaloa) and GOC of Division.3 Maj.General Janaka Perera.

Weerasooriya told Anwer (TELO) and Razeek that they should take the necessary steps to completely stop the Liberation Tigers from infiltrating into the SLA controlled areas of Batticaloa.

Anwer is the leader of the TELO group that operates with the Special Task Force commandos at Aaraimpathy, 7 kilometers south of Batticaloa.

This group is an integral part of the Sri Lankan army though civilians still refer to it as the TELO. Anwer is a Muslim youth from the adjacent village of Kattankudy and is married to a Tamil girl. The other Tamil para-military groups, the PLOTE and the EPDP, were not called for the meeting, chiefly because they are not integral parts of the army.

The SLA commander directed Anwer and Raazeek specifically to detect the civilians who help the Tigers infiltrate Batticaloa. He also told Raazeek and Anwer that there should not be a single place in the east classified as 'uncleared' in the future.

The commander later discussed with them a major operation into Tiger held areas of the east that may soon come off the drawing boards at the SLA headquarters.

SLA sources in Batticaloa said that both Raazeek and Anwer will be expected to contribute much more than their customary role in anti-LTTE operations in this region this year.


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