SLA trooper dies attacking Tigers

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 July 2002, 22:07 GMT]
A Sri Lanka Army soldier was killed when he crossed into the zone of separation in Jaffna and opened fire on a group of Liberation Tigers who fired back, international ceasefire monitors said Thursday. LTTE and SLA commanders “showed tremendous responsibility and constraint in a very difficult situation,” Major General Trond Furuhovde, head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said.

The text of the SLMM press release follows:

“One Sri Lankan Army Soldier tragically lost his life today, after having ventured into the Zone of Seperation in Jaffna Peninsula for unknown personal reasons and opened fire on four LTTE cadres. The incident took place today between 12.00 and 13.00, 150 metres East of the Muhamalai Checkpoint on the A9 road.

“According to information that SLMM Headquarters and SLMM Monitors on the ground have had confirmed today with both The LTTE and The Sri Lankan Army, it seems that the following happened:

“The soldier went missing from his comrades at Muhamalai Checkpoint just after 12.00. After that he ventured into the Zone of Separation, separating the Government controlled area in Jaffna Peninsula from the LTTE controlled area. The reasons for this crossing remain totally unknown to both Parties.

“Between 12.00 and 13.00 the soldier came across four LTTE Cadres and opened fire with his personal weapon, slightly wounding two of the cadres. The Cadres returned fire in self defence with the tragic result of the Sri Lankan Army Soldier losing his life.

“It is important to underline that the above mentioned incident is what happened according to the information SLMM has at this point in time and that further inquiries will be made into this event.

“Commanders of The LTTE and Commanders of The Sri Lankan Army showed tremendous responsibility and constraint in a very difficult situation, according to Major General Trond Furuhovde, Head of SLMM.”

"The LTTE cadres were brought into a very difficult situation where they returned fire in self defense, with this tragic result. I deeply regret the untimely loss of a young life in this tragic event. It underscores the need of the parties to work hard to keep the Peace Process on track. This tragedy is certainly a very serious reminder to all of us. I would like to convey to the soldier's family SLMM's deepest sympathy," Major General Furuhovde said.


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