Four loggers reported 'missing'
[TamilNet, Thursday, 24 August 2000, 19:50 GMT]
Four villagers who went in a tractor to collect fire-wood in the jungles of Maha Oya have been reported missing since 22 August. According to complaints made with the Batticaloa Human Rights Commission (HRC), five others who went along with them had escaped and returned home, leaving behind the tractor, when troops opened fire.
They went the following day and reclaimed the tractor, but were unable to find their friends, the villagers said.
Maha Oya is a remote village in the interior of the eastern province, about 45 km. south-west of Batticaloa town. Special Task Force (STF) elite troops maintain a camp in the area.
According to the complaints with the HRC, the following have been reported 'missing':
Muthulingam Shanmukarasa,20, of Karadiyan Aaru,
Kanthavanam Thurairasa,30, of Keluthivadu (father of 4),
Mylvakanam Subramanium,36, (father of 3) and
Murukupillai Thurairasasingham,44, father of 4.
Meanwhile three fishermen who had set out fishing in the deep seas of Trincomalee around 4 p.m. on Wednesday have not returned home as of Thursday evening, their relatives said.
The fishermen are identified as: Lokanathan Maniwannan,27 Peter Rex,23 and Moorthy,24.
In a separate incident 19 Tamils harvesting paddy at Neelapalai in Kilivetti were arrested and severely assaulted by Sri Lanka Army soldiers following the abduction of a Sinhala paddy businessman by unidentified men Wednesday at Kankuveli in the Mutur area. Villagers said 14 of them were later released by the soldiers.