Mass arrest in Valaichenai

[TamilNet, Monday, 16 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The SLA cordoned off and searched the several villages in Valaichenai this morning. More than five hundred males from the villages of Peythalai, Kannakipuram, Puthukkudiyiruppu, Kannankikiramam etc., were taken to an empty ground near the Peythalai army camp.

From these, the army picked up fifty, who were then taken to the Valaichenai paper mills military camp. Here, according to those released this evening, three persons were identified by army informants. They were detained and the rest were released.

Sources in Valaichenai said that the SLA is operating on the basis that there are several supporters of the Liberation Tigers living in the villages near Valaichenai, acting as informants to the organisation.

The SLA is particularly apprehensive about LTTE activity in Valaichenai area and has been heavy handed in its operation

Villages in Valaichenai have been continuously subjected to shelling from the SLA camps which dot the locality.

There are about ten Sri Lankan army camps in and around the Valaichenai junction, highlighting the importance of the Main Supply Route (MSR) to the Sri Lankan garrison in Batticaloa town.

Sources in Batticaloa say that the SLA's grip on the Batticaloa district will diminish substantially if it losses control of Valaichenai junction to the LTTE.


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