Army fires on civilian van

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
Four passengers were wounded when the Sri Lankan army fired on a van from Valaichenai to Polannaruwa this morning around 11 a.m. between Ottamavadi and Navalady.

The condition of one, identified as Meerasahib 65, is said to be serious. The man was rushed to the Batticaloa hospital.

The SLA troops at this strategic junction appear to have fired at random in panic following, what according to them, was an attempted attack half an hour earlier on an army sentry on the shore of the Valaichenai lagoon by a group of Liberation Tigers who had come in a boat from the island of Naasivanthivu.

The SLA in the Valaichenai fishing harbour camp, the Peythalai camp and the Kalkudah camp launched heavy shelling on Naasivanthivu (the barber's island) as soon as the attempted attack was reported.

Civilian casualties in this shelling are not known yet as people living in this island have to bring their dead and wounded by boat only after the army signals permission to cross the lagoon.

Naasivanthivu is regularly subject to mortar attack by the SLA in the three camps on the Valaichenai promontory.

School children and civilians have been wounded by SLA mortar fire in the past.

Naasivanthivu is small island in the Valaichenai estuary. It was a coconut plantation in the past. The island is not under the SLA's control.


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