New SLA camp in Chavakchcheri displaces resettlers

[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 January 2003, 14:42 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Chavakachcheri, Jaffna, is building a new camp in an outer suburb of the war ravaged town where refugee families that fled the war more than two years resettled recently, residents said. Three families, which resettled in their homes by the Kandy Road two months ago, vacated their houses Friday as ordered by the SLA. Four resettled families here left Saturday out of fear, sources in Chavakachcheri said.

The SLA is building the new camp between Chavakchcheri Vairavar Kovil Junction and Kaithady Bridge, encompassing several paddy fields and the war damaged homes of local residents rendered refugees by intense military operations in the area two years ago.

Seven displaced families resettled in their homes here in October- November last year. The army began cutting down Coconut and Palmyra trees in the suburb to build bunkers for the new camp two weeks ago.

The military asked three families, the residences of which were within the area demarcated by the SLA for the new camp, to leave last week. Other families living close by told Tamilnet Saturday that they too are moving out for fear of living next to the new camp.

“The only usable water well in the area is inside the new camp. Therefore no can live or resettle in the area now," the head of one of the families displaced by the SLA told Tamilnet.

The seven families displaced by the new SLA camp are staying with relatives in Vaakaiadi in Madduvil south, near Chavakachcheri.

Human rights activists in Jaffna say that it is illegal for the SLA to forfeit private property. The Liberation Tigers charge that it is against the spirit of the ceasefire agreement that they signed with Colombo in February last year.

The SLA sources in Chavakachcheri, however, said that the new camp is being built to house troops being pulled out of the town.

A spokesman for the displaced families dismissed the SLA’s claim. “Not a single SLA unit in Chavakachcheri town has been moved out so far. The camp built in our homes is clearly meant to augment the SLA’s strength here," he said.

 

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