SLA arrests ICRC employee

[TamilNet, Monday, 19 July 1999, 08:39 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops cordoned off the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at Kovinthan Road in Batticaloa yesterday evening and arrested a local employee of the organisation around 7 p.m. said sources.

The SLA said the man, Uthayan (Ed: one name only), is head of the intelligence unit of Liberation Tigers (LTTE) in Kaluwanchikudy. The SLA claimed it had found a communication set in his possession.

Sources said the SLA soldiers, who had followed Uthayan, cordoned off the ICRC office when he went into the building said sources.

However, the acting head of delegation of the ICRC in Batticaloa, Sylvie Van Lammeren, had refused to let the army in when soldiers wanted to enter and search the premises.

The troops had then contacted the Batticaloa SLA commander to impress on the ICRC to give up the employee, said the sources.

However, the ICRC official again did not allow the troops to arrest Uthayan, the sources said.

Then the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence contacted the ICRC head office in Colombo and later arrested Uthyan.

Sources said Uthayan was assaulted by the troops during the arrest.

Uthayan began working at the Batticaloa ICRC office 17 days ago, sources said.

He is currently being interrogated by the SLA intelligence in Batticaloa, sources said.


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