Ninteen people including a 12 year old boy working in the fields in Karadian Aru were taken by the Amparai detachment of the army and were held in a closed lorry. After news came of General Kobbekaduwas death in Jaffna, soldiers treated the men very roughly, assaulted them and trampled over them on the floor of the lorry. During the 8 days of this manner of treatment with hardly any food, two of the farmers were taken away unconscious into the jungle after a severe beating. Others presumed they were killed. The soldiers apparently tried to take the men to the Amparai camp and were in turn directed to Batticaloa. The surviving prisoners were brought to Major Zacky at Batticaloa prison. The prisoners were in such a poor state that the major refused to accept them and instead called in the Peace Committee.
The Peace Committee accepted them and took them to St.Michaels College, stinking and rice meal and sent home in a Red Cross lorry the following day. According to one source the two who were presumed killed were later found alive in the jungle. In early 199, the chances of these men being kept alive would have been very slim. That most of them survived owes no little to persistent international pressure.[Top]
Mahilanthani ( Batticaloa-Polannaruwa border): First reports in the Island of 12th August, quoted Joseph Pararajasingham, MP, saying that at least 24 persons were hacked to death by armed raiders in this remote Tamil village. The dead included 9 children and six elderly women. 1O persons were admitted to Polannaruwa base hospital and were later transferred to Kandy and Colombo for medical treatment. 12 victims were from the same family. 26 Tamil families later sought refuge in Pethalai refugee camp, Valaichenai.
An Island report the following day said the death toll rose to 35. A search party led by the village GS(head man) had found on the 12th morning, the bodies of 9 persons abducted by the armed raiders. The bodies, including those of two young women and two children , were found in a jungle clearing in a highly decomposed state. Two of those hospitalised had succumbed to injuries. Two thirds of the villagers were Tamils of hill country origin, rendered refugees by the 1977 anti-Tamil violence.
Eye witnesses said that the raiders were dressed in military type uniform. There were incidentally 2 army camps near the village. The final death toll stood at 39. In an incident which took place in the area 10 days earlier the LTTE attacked a joint army and police patrol killing 33 servicemen.
Sixteen soldiers from the army camp at Poonani were given to the custody of the Military Police following an identification parade. The men according to press reports will be tried before a civil court in Batticaloa.[Top]
Palaiadivattai (Vellavely, near Palugamam) & Kaluvanchikudy : The STF had extended its area of control northwards to Kaluwanchkudy in the Batticaloa District about July 1992. To its former area which in the north consisted of the strip east of the lagoon up to Kallar, it had now added Kotaikallar, Onthachchimadam and Kaluwanchikudy, as well as Mandur to the west of the lagoon. These areas had earlier been under the army. Shortly after it assumed control,acting apparently on a tip-off, the STF ambushed and killed 3 Tigers who were coming into Kottaikallar by boat in the night, from across the lagoon. One of the boys killed was from the same village. According to our sources the second in command at Kaluwanchikkudy was the same person in command at Periya Nilavenai when 35 refugees were lined up in front of a Buffel armoured car and massacred on the beach at Kallar in July 1990 [ Report No.7].
On 24th October an STF patrol was going along the main road in Kaluwanchikudy. Several young boys, many of them good students who had sat for their A.Levels, were spending their time farming on a plot of land-a very constructive hobby. One of the boys had long ago left the EPRLF and was of a nervous disposition. Seeing the patrol, he began to withdraw in a seemingly surreptitious manner. An STF man saw this and fired into the air, and asked the boys to come to the road.
An LTTE boy had been sleeping in a hut in the adjacent compound which is behind the farm away from the road. These boys were unaware of his presence there. Upon hearing the shots, he sprang out of the hut, threw a grenade and scooted off. The STF fired, but missed him. The eight boys who were farming were brought to the road and beaten. Five of them were then shot dead. None of those killed had any links with the LTTE. Among those killed was Kulendran, an A/L student, whose brother Ravi was Inspector of Posts and Telecommunications (IPT) in Batticaloa. He contacted Brigadier Angamana, then in Batticaloa, who was known to him. According to local sources, the brigadier contacted the STF, found out what had happened and conveyed his sympathies to Ravi . The irony of this was that exactly five years before on 23rd october 1987, in the IPKF massacre in Kaluwanchikudi, 16 people were killed and over 2O houses and 3O shops were burnt. All the five who were killed had then lost at least one close relative. Actually Ravis elder brother, Balendran, was also killed in that incident. Former M.P Rasamanikkams son was another victim.
Vellavely: About the same time a military operation was launched from several fronts in the Vellavely area with the forces advancing from Thanthamalai as well as from several other points. The paddy fields had been sown for the maripoham (rainy season cultivation - sown in September and harvested in late January or early February), wadis (temporary groups of thatched huts) had been erected and farmers were living there to protect their crops.
When the forces, consisting of parties from the army and apparently, the STF, moved in, about 1O civilians were killed in the hamlets of Kanchirankudah, Pavatkodichchenai, Sammanthiaru, Kalaipottamadu and Thayilamunai in the Paliadivattai area. There had been an incident in the area two days earlier. According to one report, up to 1O Tigers were killed during the earlier incident. According to another, two groups of advancing forces exchanged fire by mistake. Both are stories passed on by local villagers. We have been unable to ascertain whether it was one, the other or both. Whatever it was, there would have been a general panic in the area. It is reported that several of the civilians killed were taken to Kalluwanchkudy, placed alongside the 5 boys killed in the first incident, dressed in cyanide capsule necklaces, videoed and reported as Tigers killed.
Further information on the incident was given in the Amnesty International Report of February 1993.
Most people from the interior, where the farmers were killed, went as refugees to Kothiavalai and occupied the school building. They have not received rations after 22nd November 1992. In January, they had to move out of the school building. Thirty two (32) wadis of the farmers had been burnt.
When people were getting ready for bed after supper, soldiers from the local camp went into houses and took away 4 or 5 women saying that they were wanted for questioning. Two among the women were mother and daughter. One was an 18 year old living near the Roman Catholic Church. The soldiers were drunk,wearing olive green shorts and were carrying guns. The father of the 18 year old tried to follow the party and retreated when bullets were fired over his head.
The father went to Batticaloa the following day, complained to the Peace Committee and met Brigadier Gunawardene in the company of Prince Casinader, M.P. According to a member of the Peace Committee, the brigadier went to Aithiyamalai by helicopter and reported back to the Peace Committee that the facts of the complaint were essentially correct. He also, according to this source gave them to understand that in the interests of protecting the good name of the army, the charade of holding the girls for an inquiry will be kept up. The girls were to be released in two days. The action taken by the brigadier, it is learnt, was to transfer out the officer - in- charge and some of the men - a present rather than a punishment.
The women, reportedly, were raped.
Rape it is understood ceased when the brigadier intervened. [Top]
The army established camp in Ambalanthurai about October 1992 ostensibly to control the movement of paddy. The army captain in charge, was considered a good man by the people of the area. He had given strict orders to his men not to bother the women of the area and had told the villagers not to hesitate to come to him anytime.
On a night in late November 1992, some soldiers forced their way into a house in Thirukkudiyiruppu and were about to molest the lady of the house. Her husband ran out of the house screaming and jumped into the well. The lady and their child also screamed. The captain came running and caught the men.
Following day the culprits were punished by being made to run on the bunds of the paddy field at high-noon.[Top]
Sillikudiaru, Nedunchenai, Othiyankudah, Panchenai
(5 miles from Palugamam):
As the army went into the area early in the morning, some Tigers ran away. The army went about shooting farmers who had not succeeded in making an exit, killing about 8. Wadis were set on fire.[Top]
Acting evidently on information an ambush was set up for the Tiger area leader David.David was going to Ambalanthurai riding a motorbike. His escort was allowed to pass. As David appeared, the ambush party opened fire, killing David and a young civilian on a bicycle, carrying manure , who just happened to pass that way. Davids injured pillion rider rolled off into some bushes, radioed for help and kept the ambush party at bay. Others arrived and retrieved the leaders body.
A reason attributed by locals for several successful ambushes by the forces is the role of Mohan, a former member of the PLOTE, a native who knows the area well, now works with the army and is said to play a prominent role in these operations. More on Mohan in 6.2.
One Tiger and a go between were killed
in an army ambush. The Tiger, described as a medical student in the University
of Jaffna, was said to be on a tax - collecting mission. [Top]
The army surrounded the village and about 400 persons were taken to the beach. Following screening with the help of TELO, all were released and the army appeared to withdraw. Then men came on yellow, silent but powerful, motorcycles, went to a particular house and dragged out two young men. One was knifed to death and the other was shot dead. The men on motor cycles then went away as swiftly as they had come. They then returned, apparently after the army had re-positioned itself. One motorcyclist got down, and with a fell stroke severed the head of the slain leader who had been knifed. He then took the head and stuck it on a stick that was part of a fence. The motor cycles then sped away for the second time.
The two killed had belonged to the LTTE and were on a tax collecting mission. The village mourned the loss of the leader, as having been a man who was reasonable and considerate in fixing taxes in relation to others. It appears that during the screening information had been passed on to the army or the TELO.
The motorcycle squad was a new weapon deployed by the forces, one of whose main functions is to strike terror. The particular act described was sickening. It is an insult to the people to see one of their sons treated in this manner and if anything would only alienate them further. The two concerned could easily have been arrested. The notion of this particular squad militates against the portrayal of normality and the rule of the law in the East.
Some describe the motor cycle squad as potent weapon and others claim that it has suffered an abnormally high casualty rate. According to one report 8 men on 4 yellow motorcycles were going to their base at Thoppimalai, off Kiran. While passing through a stretch frequented by the LTTE , one motor cycle slipped and toppled with the riders. The others went by without stopping. The fallen were killed by the LTTE. Our informant got this report from an old man who was proud that his nephew had done the deed. The pride was not on account of his nephew having slain a man, a Sinhalese or a soldier. But it was on account of this squad having become so odious. Whatever the short term gains, using such methods is no way to win over a people who feel cornered.[Top]
Selvam (alias Kanesh) had left the LTTE a long time ago. He was of late a farmer, married with a child. From his home in Mahiladithvu, he crossed by ferry to Kanchirankudah to go to his fields. It was about 7 A.M. The army that was waiting in ambush caught hold of him, blindfolded him and kept him prisoner. From the Kothiavalai refugee camp, a 19 year old boy came to Kanchirankudah to cross over to Munaikkadu in order to visit a relative. He too was caught and similarly kept. About 8.3O A.M, Ragel(4O), a burgher from Dutch - Bar, Kallady, married with children, a blacksmith by profession, arrived in Kanchirankudah with a help-mate in his 2Os. On his way to his work-shop which he visited periodically, he stopped at a boutique about 5O yards to his shop. He then asked the old man of the boutique if the army was around. He was told that the army was waiting in ambush. Ragel, wheeling a bicycle and dressed in shorts, told the old man that he would not proceed and turned back. Hardly had he gone 1O yards when the soldiers opened fire. Ragel fell, shot in the head. His help-mate put up his hands, was shot through the elbow and was taken prisoner. Soldiers then walked up to Ragel, picked up his body and threw it into the bushes. At about 10 A.M, apparently angry that the quarry for whom the ambush was set up did not turn up, they shot dead the 3 Tamil prisoners at point blank range and went away.
Altogether 9 civilians were killed during this operation which lasted from about 10th-12th January. Besides the 4 at Kanchirankuda, 2 were killed at Munaikkadu and 3 men at Theyilamunai. Among the casualties were Illanko, a teacher, killed at Theylamunai and Thillamplalm Ravi. Also killed at Theyialmuanai were 3 cows and 4 goats.
The dead from Kanchirankudah were brought to Batticaloa hospital at 7.30 p.m. Selvam was later buried at Mahiladithivu.[Top]
It was early in the morning when fresh bread was being brought
to the tea boutique. Two Tigers who had come to buy bread were drinking tea
in the boutique. At the same time an old woman who had come with a child was
on the road buying bread. Unknown to them, the forces, acting apparently on
a tip-off, had arrived and were waiting in ambush some distance away. One of
the Tigers came out to buy bread, and the forces opened fire. The Tiger and
the child were killed and the old woman was injured. The boutique keeper was
later beheaded by the forces. The old woman was subsequently admitted to hospital. [Top]
soldiers took part in an operation lasting about 3 days. While moving
from Kombankuthiolai to Pavakkodichchenai in Paduvankarai, all farmers
and villagers whom they came across were taken prisoner. The women were left
alone. One milk man who had injuries from former beatings was questioned
intensely. The nervous milk man mumbled incoherently. All were released
except the milk man. [Top]
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