Sri Lankan troops ‘enter LTTE territory’
[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 May 2002, 20:55 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers crossed into territory held by the Liberation Tigers in Batticaloa on May 24, violating the terms of the permanent ceasefire, press reports said Thursday. LTTE officials have lodged a complaint with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) the reports added.
News of the soldiers' presence in the region was reported to the LTTE political office in Batticaloa by alarmed residents, the Uthayan newspaper reported. The deputy head of the LTTE’s political section in the Batticaloa-Amparai region, Mr. Thurai, made a formal complaint to the SLMM after confirming the villagers’ reports.
Tension amongst civilians remained high in the Vahaneri area after the heavily armed troopers withdrew from the area, the paper said.
According to the permanent ceasefire agreement , “the [Sri Lankan] armed forces and the LTTE's fighting formations shall hold their ground positions, maintaining a zone of separation of a minimum of six hundred (600) metres. However, each Party reserves the right of movement within one hundred (100) metres of its own defence localities, keeping an absolute minimum distance of four hundred (400) metres between them.”