Tigers help IDPs resettle in high security zone
[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 November 2002, 18:08 GMT]
(News Feature) In a major gesture to reiterate their commitment to peace in Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers Thursday helped displaced civilians settle in a village situated in one of their most heavily defended high security zones in the north. The village of Kudarappu is on Jaffna’s southeastern coast in the Nagar kovil sector where the armed forces of the Liberation Tigers and Sri Lanka face each other across heavily defended and mined Defence Lines.
The Liberation Tigers dismantled their defence positions and removed minefields in the Kudarappu high security zone to enable civilians to start resettling there from Thursday.
The Sea Tigers who constitute the eastern front forces of the Liberation Tigers met the displaced residents of Kudarappu Thursday at the Maamunai Government Tamil Mixed School to formally inform them that resettlement could begin. The village has been fully cleared of all landmines and unexploded ordnance and all bunkers, sand ramparts and mini-camps, according to Mr. Yarl Mannan, a Sea Tiger officer who met the IDPs.
More than 126 families fled the village in May 2000 amid heavy fighting between the sea borne troops of the LTTE and the SLA.
They have been living in Pt. Pedro, Vanni and other villages on the peninsula’s south-eastern coast which are under the control of the Liberation Tigers.
The Sri Lanka military considers the Nagar kovil sector a vulnerable point on the line of control that divides Jaffna because in the past it was exposed to LTTE manoeuvres by both land and sea.
The dilapidated Kudarappu Church at dusk
The Tigers and the SLA regularly fought artillery duels here before the ceasefire was signed in February 2002. The SLA has concentrated its forces in this sector amid complaints by the Tigers that the SLA is pushing its defences too close to their FDLs even after the ceasefire.
The Tigers have urged the SLA to open the main road along the peninsula’s south-eastern coast the Pt. Pedro Maruthankerni Road by de-mining and removing its defence structures blocking it at Nagar kovil.
If this road were reopened, IDPs from the region would be able to resettle easily, the Tigers say. IDPs from the region have to now take a circuitous route through the SLA entry point at Muhamalai, turning east from the A9 at Puthukkaadu Junction to reach their villages.
The SLA, however, has refused to open the road citing security reasons.
Kudarappu is the village that has suffered the greatest destruction here during the war. The intense battles for Nagar kovil have virtually flattened this coastal hamlet.
The historic Catholic Church here, built by the Portuguese, was bombed by the Sri Lanka Air Force in December 1999, during Christmas days.
Fishermen from other parts of Jaffna beach at Kudarappu to pray in the church when passing this way by sea to and from seasonal fishing sojourns to Chundikulam and the Mullaithivu coast.
Mass will resume from this week, said the local priest.