Air Force flights are "negating confidence" - LTTE
[TamilNet, Monday, 13 May 2002, 10:33 GMT]
In the wake of a series of low-level flights over the Vanni by Sri Lanka Air Force surveillance aircraft which have raised fears amongst residents, the Liberation Tigers Monday lodged a formal protest with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). The causing of panic amongst civilians by the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is "a negation of the confidence building exercise undertaken by the government of Sri Lanka," the LTTE said in a letter to the SLMM.
Writing to General Trond Furuhovde, head of the SLMM, Mr. S. P. Tamilchelvan, Head of the LTTE's Political Section said: "You are aware that the LTTE has already brought to the attention of the SLMM the flight of Unmanned Reconnaissance Aircraft over civilian areas in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts."
The aircraft are cruising over towns and villages at low altitudes causing anxiety and panic among civilians and school children, the letter, a copy of which was seen by TamilNet, said.
"During war times these flights were not only confined to surveillance on land but always preceded aerial bombardment. As such the Tamil civilian population is deeply worried over the intention behind this unwarranted action," the letter said.
"This aerial surveillance constitutes a violation of the spirit of the truce agreement," the LTTE said. "Furthermore, such action is tantamount to a negation of the confidence building exercise undertaken by the government of Sri Lanka."
"We, therefore urge you to use your good offices and prevail upon the government to desist from this provocative action to stabilise the conditions of peace and normalcy in Tamil areas," the letter to the SLMM chief said.