Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Eastern province situation report Apr 2005

Observance of the Ceasefire/ The military situation
Several incidents of violence took place over the last month, in the Eastern Districts and with a number of persons being killed in shooting incidents by unidentified gunmen.

  • Tension in Batticaloa was high due to the increase in patrolling during the day and night by the Army, Police and the Special Task Forces. Vehicles travelling from Batticaloa to Colombo are subjected to intense checking in Oddamavadi and Welikanda area. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

  • 5 April: Former EPDP member was shot to death by unknown gunmen in Akkaraipattu (District Officer -- Amparai)

  • 6 April: One policeman was injured and another killed in Kalmunaikudi, while on duty at Relief Food Stores by unknown gunmen. (District Officer -- Amparai)

  • 15 April: Thirukkovil Divisional Secretary Mr.K.Thavarasa was shot to death by unknown gunmen. (District Officer -- Amparai)

  • 16 April: Two LTTE cadres, along with four others were arrested by the STF of Kanjirankuda, and later handed over to the Akkaraipattu police. (District Officer -- Amparai)

  • A soldier from the GoSL Armed Forces was taken into custody by the LTTE, when he was found armed, in Thanganagar village, in the uncleared area. The solder was released the following day. (District Officer -- Trincomalee/ Virakesari 12.04.05)

  • A youth was shot dead by unidentified persons around 10.30am on 11 April in Huskision Street, Trincomalee. The victim was riding a bicycle, when he was shot five times and died on the spot. The Trincomalee police who said that they suspect that the deceased may be a supporter of EPDP added that are conducting further enquiries regarding this. (District Officer -- Trincomalee/ Virakesari 12.04.05)

  • A woman found be possessing dynamite was arrested by the police near the Nilaveli checkpoint. (District Officer -- Trincomalee)

  • 22 April: A Muslim businessmen from the Oddamavadi area was killed and his teenage daughter sustained injuries when unidentified gunmen entered his home and shot him without provocation. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

  • 28 March: A 62-year-old vocational-training instructor, who had travelled to Batticaloa from Colombo to conduct interviews, was shot dead by an unknown assailant at the Munchanthoduvai Technical College on 28 March. The victim was the director of Vocational training. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

  • 1 April: A 23-year-old man was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at about 6.30pm on Uma Mill Road, Kommathurai. (Community Protection Network -- Batticaloa)

  • 5 April: A former activist of the Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party (EPDP) was injured seriously in gunfire and admitted to hospital when he was shot at by unidentified gunmen. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

  • 7 April: The residence of a popular liquor trader in the Chenkalady area came under a grenade attack on 7 April, although the building was damaged in the attack, no lives were lost. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

  • 8 March: A 29-year-old man from a local gang was shot and killed while travelling by bus in Kattankudy. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

  • 16 April: unknown assailants killed 9 persons in an early-morning attack on a camp situated within government-controlled area. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

  • 7 April: A meeting between SLMM and Army was held at 23rd Brigade Head Quarters Office, to discuss the continuing violence in the district. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

  • 28 March: An Incident was report from the Mandana welfare centre in Thirukkovil, when an LTTE deserter had escaped and sought refuge with the STF; LTTE cadres had pursued the deserter leading to both parties exchanging blows and some of the STF personnel being admitted to hospital. Following this incident, a three-day harthal was staged by the LTTE, which affected normal civil administration in the area. (District Officer -- Amparai)

Degree of Political and Ethnic division and extremism

Some members of the Muslim community protested and held a 'harthal' because of a Buddhist statue being constructed in Pottuvil on 6 April. The 'harthal' was organised by the welfare societies in the area.

Tsunami-related reports

Families in Eachilampathu and Kuchchaveli areas are moving out of tents and seeking refuge in other areas due to the continuous rain, which has made living in tents near impossible. The rain has caused flood in some areas, make it difficult to cook meals and leads to the spread of disease. Children and pregnant mothers are especially finding it hard to abide in these hard conditions. (District Officer -- Trincomalee)

It has also been reported that in the Kabir tsunami-refugee camp, many of those who had consumed foods provided as relief items, had been severely ill. Approximately 56 persons had been admitted to hospital after vomiting, diarrhoea and fainting. (District Officer -- Trincomalee)

Following the distribution of relief items and finances by both the Government and by NGOs, it has been noted that many of those who were affected have become disinterested in looking for employment and instead, are engaging in other harmful activities such as gambling, alcoholism etc. (District Officer -- Trincomalee)

8 April: following reports of a second tsunami hitting the shores of Sri Lanka, the district was thrown into panic and chaos. Even after reports were given three hours later, assuring the public that there was no danger of another tsunami, there was some tension. People in the district did not resume regular activities until the afternoon of the following day, fearing another calamity. (District Officer -- Batticaloa)

There is a concern regarding the psychosocial programmes being conducted in the welfare centres and tents for those affected by the tsunami; as it is felt that those conducting the programmes are not qualified nor competent and that they may cause more harm than good. (District Officer -- Trincomalee)