Paramilitaries told to disarm

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 February 1999, 22:15 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) said today that it has ordered the PLOTE and the TELO, Tamil paramlitiaries operating with the army, to close down their offices and camps in Vavuniya.

The state run TV and radio stations said that the cadres of the two groups have been banned from carrying weapons. The Military Police (MP) have also been instructed to arrest any member of these paramilitary organisations who does so, the state media.

Police sources in Vavuniya said that the MP arrested a PLOTE cadre in Chettikulam this morning.

However, government sources in Colombo said that the each group would be permitted to have a single political office in the Vavuniya town.

Meanwhile, PLOTE leaders in Colombo and Vavuniya said this evening that they had not received any instructions from the army to close all their offices and camps in Vavuniya.

They said that the SLA has only asked them to shut down one of their offices in the suburb of Vairavappuliyankulam as it is located near a TELO camp.

The PLOTE leaders also said that the army has told their cadres not to come into Vavuniya town with weapons.

"But the SLA will not object to our boys carrying arms in the suburbs of Vavuniya because it needs us to be vigilant against infiltration by the Liberation Tigers" one of them said.

Meanwhile various civil organisations in Vavuniya have urged the PLOTE and the TELO, to end the continuing violence.

At a meting held today at the Vavuniya kachcheri, the organisations unanimously decided to appeal to the paramilitary groups to not involve students in their activities and to dissolve the Students' Associations.

Representatives from the Sri Lankan Red Cross, the Traders Association, Consortium of NGOs, Bar Association of Vavuniya, senior government officials and leaders of Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian and Muslim religions attended the meeting held at the kachcheri.

The delegates met the TELO this evening and have arranged to meet PLOTE leaders tomorrow.


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