EPDP wounded brought to Jaffna
[TamilNet, Friday, 23 January 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The EPDP admitted to the Jaffna general hospital this morning, six of its cadres who were wounded in the predawn attack by the Liberation Tigers on it positions in the island of Punguduthivu.
The group brought in the first injured cadre at 8.15 a.m. said hospital sources and the last one was admitted at 10.22 a.m. (04.22 GMT) according to them.
Two of the eight EPDP's armed cadres killed in the predawn Tiger attack on the island were identified as Kaalithas and Santhiran.
The wounded EPDP cadres are: Mariyathaas Kumar, 24, S. Sutha, 32, Muniyandi Kuhathaas,24, Anthonypillai Indran, 28, Gabriel Rajasingham ,24, and Periyathamby Puvanendran, 24
The army began moving into the island from morning for a clearing operation, said sources in Jaffna.
Civilians coming into Jaffna town from the other islands told TamilNet that fighting in the island of Punguduthivu was heard until 9.30 a.m. this morning. They said that the Liberation Tigers were normally active in one part of the island known as Alaiyadi.
The army had scheduled tomorrow for all the parties contesting the Jaffna local polls to visit the island for carrying out their campaign. The army was expected to provide security for the Tamil groups during their election canvassing in Punguduthivu tomorrow.
The predawn attack by the Liberation Tigers has jolted many in the peninsula said TamilNet correspondent in Jaffna this morning.
The EPDP's certainty about making a clean sweep of the local polls in the islands appear to be jeopardy now as people there may shun the group fearing further attacks against it by the Liberation Tigers in the coming weeks, said sources in Jaffna.
The EPDP has been controlling the islands off Jaffna jointly with SLA since 1991, following the SLA's capture of the islands in late 1990.
The EPDP operates as an auxiliary military force under the control of the SLA, and maintains permanent armed camps in the islands.
The other Tamil groups contesting the polls have accused the EPDP of intimidation and of preventing them from carrying out election campaigns there.
The Sri Lankan Elections commisioner orderd the SLA to disarm all groups contesting the elections, two weeks ago.
SLA sources said, however,it was highly unlikely that the army in Jaffna would try to disarm the armed groups, particularly the EPDP, at this juncture when there is an acute shortage of Sri Lankan troops in several parts of the Jaffna peninsula.
The EPDP, meanwhile, claims that the group is prepared to withdraw its armed cadres from the islands if the Sri Lankan army is willing to take complete responsibility there.