EPDP cadres, ammunition handed over to SLMM

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 October 2002, 11:36 GMT]
Six members of the paramilitary Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) whose camp in Delft was attacked Sunday by angry residents following the stabbing of a local shop keeper were handed over to international monitors Monday, local press reports said.

Islanders outraged by the attack on Kandapillai Loganathan, 50, had gathered in front of the EPDP office in Delft Saturday night and had smashed the building and its parapet when the cadres attempted to leave. Sections of the crowd had also set fire to everything inside the office.

One cadre, Sivachandran Satheeskumar alias Amin, was apprehended by the crowd, the Uthayan newspaper reported. Five other cadres escaped and sought refuge with the Sri Lankan police, the paper said.

All six were handed over to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) when its representatives arrived at the scene, the Uthayan said. Earlier, when the police had attempted to escort the five cadres in their custody away from the area, the crowd had protested vociferously, the paper said.

The crowd had also seized 450 rounds of ammunition and hand grenades from the camp and handed these over to the SLMM also, the Uthayan said.

The islands off the Jaffna peninsula are the stronghold of the EPDP, which works alongside the Sri Lankan security forces in a counterinsurgency role against the Liberation Tigers. During the conflict, the EPDP has been accused by international and local human eights groups of abuses against civilians.

Under the terms of the ceasefire agreement between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan government, all paramilitary groups working with the security forces have to be disarmed and either disbanded or integrated into the military for service outside the northeast.

But despite the symbolic handing over of some weapons, the EPDP is still said to retain a sizeable arsenal and maintains its camps in the islands, under the aegis of the Sri Lankan military.


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