SLA calls off search operation due to SLMM intervention

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 July 2003, 15:51 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army Tuesday morning called off its cordon and search operation conducted outside the political office of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the Vadamaradchi division, after the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission monitors in the Jaffna district intervened, sources said.

The SLMM intervention followed protests by the LTTE that such search operations would undermine the peace process, sources said.

The Sri Lanka Army had deployed its soldiers in large numbers, accompanied by the police, at the Vathiri junction, where the Vadamarachchi division LTTE political office is located. They commenced their cordon and search around 10 a.m., sources said

This operation was the third such cordon and search, jointly conducted by the SLA and police within one week in the same locality, sources said.

The LTTE lodged a complaint with the SLMM monitors in Jaffna, stating that the cordon and search operation now being conducted for the third time in a week was considered a provocative act and this had caused fear among the people in the area, sources said.

The SLMM monitors rushed to Vathiri junction and met with the LTTE's political activists in the Vadamarachchi political office. The political activists rejected the stand taken by the SLMM that the cordon and search conducted by the SLA and police was a routine one, sources said.

The LTTE activists reportedly pointed out that frequent cordon and search operations by the security forces would lead to the people losing confidence in the peace process.

The SLMM monitors then visited the 524 SLA Brigade headquarters located in the harbor area of Point Pedro and held discussions with senior SLA officials. The troops and the police deployed at the Vathiri junction to conduct search operations were hurriedly withdrawn, civil sources said.

Meanwhile, army soldiers conducted a search operation at the Mulli checkpoint, which is located at the entrance from Thenmaradchchi to the Vadamarachchi division. Passengers were asked to alight from vehicles and were subjected to body checks, sources said.


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