Military build up unsettles Pulmoddai residents

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A large number of Muslims from Pulmoddai town and its surroundings sought refuge in the local Mosque today, fearing a major assault by the Liberation Tigers on the Sri Lankan Army positions here, according to initial reports from the eastern port town of Trincomalee.

However, the SLA in Pulmoddai have persuaded large number of Muslims to return to their homes. But the residents reported that the situation is tense as there is an indication of an LTTE build up against the SLA positions in the area.

However they were unable to confirm the exact nature of the situation.

Pulmoddai is a Muslim town on the northern extreme of the Trincomalee district, where the richest depots of Titanium ore in the world are found in the beach sands.

The Sri Lankan government has a major facility in Pulmoddai to process Ilmanite and Rutile from the Pulmoddai beach sand.

Several SLA camps were established in the area to protect the processing plant, which exports Titanium ore, mainly to Japan and the US.

Pulmoddai is on the edge of the Velioya military zone, which is claimed by Tamil mainstream political parties as well as the Liberation Tigers as traditional Tamil area, from which Tamil civilians were, according to them, unlawfully and forcibly evicted in 1984 by the Sri Lankan security forces.

The Liberation Tigers have twice attacked shipments of Titanium ore destined for Japan and the US, claiming that the sands are part of the natural resources of what they claimed to be the Tamil Homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island.

 

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