Batticaloa SLA, paramilitaries on edge

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 August 1999, 14:30 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army cordoned off the area around Loyds Avenue on the Batticaloa-Trincomalee road where the SLA convoy was attacked yesterday, and conducted a search operation from 11 a.m. this morning. The SLA searched the area for more than four hours.

SLA sources said the they received information about the presence of LTTE members in the area. However, no one was arrested.

Eleven policemen were killed and at least 22 were wounded in the attack. Four shops and a fuel station were also damaged in the explosion sources said.

Meanwhile the owner of a shop close to which the explosive device went off has been detained by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Sri Lankan Police.

Polices sources alleged that the explosive device was hidden in his shop and that they discovered another bomb there.

The shop had been closed for repairs for almost an year.

Sources in the eastern town said SLA and police have stepped up security measures in Batticaloa town and its environs following attack.

Civilians entering Batticaloa from the areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers are being checked thoroughly at the sentries and some have been assaulted the since yesterday said sources.

Meanwhile Tamil paramilitary groups in Batticaloa which operate with the Sri Lankan security forces have curtailed their movements in Batticaloa town as a consequence of the Liberation Tigers stepping up attacks here.

Members of the Razeek group, EPRLF, PLOTE, TELO and EPDP who usually move about freely in Puliyanthivu, Koddaimunai which comprise the Batticaloa town and the suburbs of Veechchukkalmunai and Puthur have now confined themselves to their offices cum camps in the his security zone of Puliyanthivu the sources added.

The main part of the town lies in the island of Puliyanthivu.

The paramilitary groups are scared that the LTTE will target them and feel that they are very vulnerable and exposed in the town said Police sources.

The TELO area leader for Aaraiyampathy was shot and wounded by gunmen suspected to be members of the Liberation Tigers yesterday. And a few hours before shooting the TELO cadre the Liberation Tigers clashed with members of the Razeek group in the same area. On Monday a SLA major was killed in a suicide blast.

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