Muslim groups emerging
By Nalaka Nonis and Shanika Udawatte in Saindumaruthu
Intelligence sources in the Eastern Province confirmed the emergence
of organised armed Muslim cadres as the government moved in to quell
growing tension between the LTTE and Muslim civilians in the area.
told The SundayTimes that their units have already reported information
about the existence and movements of these groups which are undergoing
training in the use of Chinese-made T-56 assault rifles. According
to residents of the area, these groups are identifying themselves
as Mujahadeen, Al-Queda, Osama and Jehad groups.
Secretary M.N. Junaid this week confirmed that there are reports
about certain Muslim-based armed groups operating in the area. "We
cannot go into details about this at the moment due to the tense
situation. That is why we have sent two CID teams to investigate
the circumstances of the recent clashes," Mr. Junaid told a
news conference in response to a question raised by The Sunday Times.
despatched CID detectives to ascertain whether these groups were
organised movements or no more than small gangs operating in self-defence
in the face of continuing LTTE excesses against Muslim civilians
in the East. Intelligence sources said they had credible information
that training was taking place in the coastal town of Kathankudy
and other Muslim populated areas.
the government went ahead with a controversial crash police recruitment
programme with plans to enrol 550 Tamil-speaking policemen for the
Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts. By noon yesterday
1,500 had called over at the walk-in interviews held in the three
The Tamil National
Alliance (TNA) has objected to this programme and is said to agree
to recruitment only for areas which have been declared as 'trouble-spots'
under a separate DIG.
At least five
Muslim civilians have been gunned down in the East during the past
week heightening tension between the LTTE and the Muslims with police
declaring night-curfews in the Kalmunai and Saindumaruthu areas.The
LTTE denies involvement in these killings blaming 'other groups'.