|Thursday, 13 February 2003|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
Soldiers, LTTEers injured in quarrel
by Ranil Wijayapala
Two soldiers and four LTTE cadres sustained injuries during a quarrel between some soldiers and LTTE cadres at a checkpoint in Manipai, Jaffna last morning, defence sources said yesterday.
The quarrel had started over an attempt by some women LTTE cadres to enter cleared areas wearing military belts, the sources added.
The two parties however sorted out the dispute later in the evening, when Jaffna Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka met LTTE Jaffna Political Chief Ilamparithy at the SLMM office.
The soldiers had not allowed the women cadres to enter the cleared areas with military belts, a part of the LTTE uniform, and had tried to remove the belts.
The soldiers at the checkpoint had acted in accordance with the SLMM ruling which stipulates that only unarmed LTTE members with non- military outfits can be allowed to enter cleared areas, an Army official said.
The SLMM had given this ruling due to complaints by Security Forces personnel over LTTE women cadres' attempt to enter cleared areas with military belts over the last few weeks.
As the women LTTE cadres were denied admission to the cleared areas by the soldiers, several LTTE cadres had gathered around the checkpoint and tried to forcibly enter the cleared areas leading to a heated argument between the two parties.
Following the incident, some 100 people protested in front of the Manipai Army camp. The Jaffna- Manipai road was blocked for hours by the protestors and the shops were closed. The protesters were later dispersed by an army riot squad.
The SLMM spokesman Teitur Torkelsson however said its monitors had seen innocent civilians being attacked by the riot squad, adding that it is a violation of the ceasefire agreement which bars both parties from committing hostile acts against civilians.
Later in the afternoon, the Army admitted the riot squad had over-reacted when Gen Fonseka met LTTE Jaffna Political Chief Ilamparithy, who in return assured that the women cadres would not wear military belts when they enter the government controlled area, Torkelsson said.
Produced by Lake House