SLA, LTTE to discuss Eastern killings

[TamilNet, Sunday, 30 May 2004, 06:28 GMT]
Major General Shantha Kottegoda, Sri Lanka Army’s newly appointed Overall Operational Commander (OOC) for the eastern province, is scheduled to lead the SLA team to a meeting with the politico-military leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the east, arranged by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). The purpose of the meeting is to find ways and means to arrest the continuing killings in the east by unknown gunmen, SLMM sources said.

The meeting is likely to be held on Wednesday (June 2nd) at the office of the Vavunativu Divisional Secretariat, which is located in the no-man zone in the Batticaloa district, with the facilitation of SLMM, SLMM sources said.

This is to be the first meeting of Major General Kottegoda, who currently holds the post of Chief of Staff of the SLA, with the eastern LTTE leadership, after being appointed as OOC (East) to tackle the volatile situation in the east following fifteen killings by unidentified gunmen in the past one and half months. Of the 15 persons killed, 11 were LTTE cadres, 2 security personnel and two civilians. The latest killing was of a university lecturer, Mr. Kumaravel Thambiah.

The SLA authorities say that the killings of LTTE cadres appeared to be as a result of the ongoing clashes between the two groups of the LTTE. But the LTTE says the SLA had a direct hand in the attack against its cadres, sources said

On Sri Lanka President's direction, the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Lt.Gen. Lionel Balagalle, immediately assigned Major General Kottegoda as OOC (East) in overall command of all Armed Forces, Police and STF personnel deployed in the East, sources said.

Major General Kottegoda has been directed to take appropriate course of action to improve the security situation in the eastern province in consultation with General Balagalle, who is also the Commander of the SLA, sources said.

 

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