Villagers in east surround SLA, smash MI camera
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 March 2002, 17:36 GMT]
People in the village of Kinnaiadi, 32 kilometres north of Batticaloa, smashed up a camera belonging to the Sri Lanka army intelligence and refused to let the SLA interrogate three members of the Liberation Tigers who had visited the area Wednesday. The SLA unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate with the Kinnaiadi villagers to convince them that the three members of the LTTE would be released after being questioned briefly in the local army camp. The SLA then gave safe passage to the three across the lagoon to the region controlled by the LTTE.
The SLA arrested three members of the Liberation Tigers who were on a visit to the area under the terms of the cease-fire agreement, Wednesday in Sungaankerni, near Kinnaiadi. A large crowd gathered when the SLA was taking the three to the Kinnaiadi military camp. The crowd, which was swelling in strength, refused to let the SLA to take the arrested Tigers into the camp.
Informed of the situation, officers from the SLA's brigade headquarters in Valaichenai and military intelligence unit in Batticaloa rushed to the scene.
Meanwhile, students from schools in nearby Valaichenai also arrived in their numbers in Kinnaiadi to join the villagers who had surrounded the SLA unit that had arrested the Tigers.
During the argument and negotiations between the villagers of Kinnaiadi and the SLA, operatives of the SLA's military intelligence (MI) unit tried to photograph the three Liberation Tigers. But the incensed crowd set upon the MI operatives and smashed up their camera.
Pandemonium reigned as the SLA officers attempted to reason with the villagers.
The calamity was resolved when the army agreed to let the Tigers go without interrogation.