Vidaththalthivu exodus continues

[TamilNet, Friday, 02 July 1999, 15:03 GMT]
The Counter Subversive Unit (CSU) of the Sri Lankan Police arrested two of the displaced people who arrived in Pallimunai in Mannar town from coastal areas north of Vidaththalthivu today. Three persons among the two hundred and seventeen displaced Vidaththalthivu residents who came by sea from Moondaampiddy and Iluppaikadavai yesterday were also arrested by the CSU.

A hooded spotter was brought to the Pallimunai beach today by the Police to identify present and former members of the LTTE that the Police claim are coming in with the refugees.

The Police and the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) say that the Liberation Tigers are mingling spies among the refugees coming by sea to Mannar.

Hundred and twenty two persons belonging to forty families arrived by sea today from the northern coastal areas of Mannar and joined those who came from Iluppaikadavai, Vellankulam and Kalliayady yesterday.

A total of 727 people have come to Pallimunai by sea since Wednesday, said sources.

The Police and the SLA have refused to let the displaced people stay with relatives in Mannar for security reasons.

The MP for Vanni and leader of the TELO, A. Adaikalanathan visited the refugees in Pallimunai today.

He later met the Mannar SLA town commander and requested him to allow the refugees to join their relatives in Mannar suburbs. The MP also asked the town commander to grant them stay permits.

The SLA town commander, however, rejected the MP's request.

The SLA has stipulated that the refugees should be screened and housed in the camp at Pesaalai in the western corner of the Mannar island.

All are refugees are residents of Vidaththalthivu displaced by heavy SLA shelling. The refugees are fleeing northern coastal parts of Mannar following a massive offensive by the SLA, which began last Saturday to capture a strategic junction from the Liberation Tigers.

The Liberation Tigers said yesterday that they had repulsed the offensive, killing 100 SLA troops while losing 84 fighters.

The SLA however claimed to have killed over 250 Tigers while losing 16 troops. The Tigers however dismissed the SLA's claims as "grossly exaggerated"

The LTTE also said 9 civilians were killed and several houses destroyed in The Vidaththalthivu area.

Four civilians were killed and 15 injured when Sri Lanka Army shells exploded inside the premises of a Catholic Church at Vidaththalthivu town on June 29, the statement added.

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