SLMM diffuses tension at Siththankerny checkpoint
[TamilNet, Sunday, 15 June 2003, 18:52 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Sunday evening diffused tension built up at Siththankerny-Pannakam road in Valigamam division in Jaffna district when Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers stopped a LTTE cadre and attempted to check his bag he was carrying and grabbed his identity card, sources said.
The LTTE cadre refused to show his bag to army solders and insisted that he would show his bag only to the Police and the monitors of the SLMM. When SLA soldiers grabbed the identity card of the LTTE cadre, tension prevailed and hundreds of people gathered at the scene in support of the
LTTE cadre, sources said.
In the meantime additional army soldiers numbering about two hundred arrived at the scene. More LTTE political activists also rushed to the site on hearing the incident. Suddenly army soldiers took cover behind a state
bus, which came to the scene at that time and started firing into the air.
However three or four bullets had damaged the bus. SLA soldiers then started to assault the civilians who were at the scene. Civilians then started fleeing leaving their bicycles and other vehicles at the scene,
civilian sources said.
The new head of the SLMM in Jaffna Ms. Carenna Ericson rushed to the site on receipt of information. The LTTE who was detained by the SLA then showed his bag to the SLMM monitor who examined it and found nothing implicating
the LTTE cadre with any offence, sources said.
Around 8.30 p.m. Sunday every thing came to normal. However, a civilian had sustained head injuries in the assault by the SLA soldiers, civilian