Batticaloa villagers live under SLA death threats

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 January 2004, 12:51 GMT]
Residents of Vembu, Kiran, Palaiyavettai and other villages that lie close to the Kumburumoolai Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camp live in constant fear amidst death threats by the soldiers of the SLA camp, residents told TamilNet. Kumburumoolai SLA camp is located about 29kilometers North of Batticaloa town.

Affected members of more than 100 families move out to safer areas away from their villages to spend the nights, according to the villagers.

Villagers say that their predicament worsened following the recent death in nearby Kiran village of a soldier attached to the camp, who was part of a gang of soldiers engaged in several robberies in the village.

On 9 November 2003 Saturday night, when the gang was in the process of robbing a home in the village, the robbers (soldiers) were attacked and they had escaped with serious injuries.

On Sunday morning, one of the soldiers was found dead in the surrounding jungle, and the people of the village informed the SLA camp about finding the dead body of a man. But the SLA initially denied that the dead man was not a soldier from the camp, and the public then buried the body.

The Sri Lanka Police later exhumed the body and handed it over to the Valaichenai hospital. The body was later identified as that of Dissanayake Muthiyansalage Vimalaratne, 27, a soldier attached to the Kumburumoolai SLA camp. Following an inquest, the body was handed over to the soldier’s parents.

Death threats to the villagers have increased following this incident, the villagers said.

Villagers appealed to the local media to publicize their plight and to urge the authorities to take appropriate action to protect them.

 

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