Fire-fight amid Vesak gloom in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 May 2001, 12:12 GMT]
A Sri Lanka army soldier was killed and one was wounded in a fire-fight with the Liberation Tigers at Kommathurai, 18 kilometres north of Batticaloa town, Tuesday night around 8 p.m. Fighting broke out when SLA troops lying in ambush by a crossing point between the district's large hinterland controlled by the Liberation Tigers and the coast dominated by the army opened fire upon detecting the movement of armed persons.

Batticaloa limped backed to normalcy late this morning after two days of a general shut down protest against the massacre of 10 children allegedly by SLA soldiers during the Vesak festival in the eastern town last year.

Police post batti
A Policeman giving biscuits to passers by at a Police post near Batticaloa town. (Photo: TamilNet)
A person suspected to be a member of the LTTE was killed in the fighting. The SLA opened up with heavy mortars on the LTTE held region following the fire-fight. Damages are not known.

Hundreds of Tamils flock to the Batticaloa town on Vesak day annually to see the colourful lantern works by the Sri Lankan security forces who are predominantly Sinhala Buddhist.

Streets were deserted yesterday in the eastern town as Policemen, Special Task Force commandos and SLA soldiers stood by glumly by their Vesak lanterns, some of which were elaborately designed and gaily decorated.

Policemen at some posts gave free drinks and biscuits to the few civilians who happened to pass by.

The SLA tightened up security at all the crossing points in the district since last week. A military trained Policeman was shot dead by a sniper on 4 May at the Paddiruppu Bridge, the main entry point to the LTTE held region in the southern part of the district.


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