Scandalous plunder of a battered people

Paramilitary groups make millions by smuggling out IDPs

Members of paramilitary groups are carrying on a lucrative trade smuggling out Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from camps for large sums of money, an investigation by the Sunday Times revealed.

The rate for release of a person in Vavuniya stands at Rs 100,000 whilst those “delivered” to Colombo or the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is Rs 500,000 now, our Insight Team found. This is because the demand had tapered off. Earlier, charges stood at Rs 200,000 and Rs 700,000.

Agents who are working as frontmen, putting through deals for securing the release of IDPs, are operating from guesthouses and homes in Vavuniya. Next of kin, some from abroad, who arrive in the town by train have filled these guesthouses and lodges. They register with the Police and make a beeline to discuss terms and conclude deals.

“I am aware that people are leaving the camps illegally. But we do not know how this is happening,” Resettlement Minister Rishard Bathiuddeen told The Sunday Times. He is the Government Minister in charge of IDP camps and responsible for the re-settlement of the inmates.

The Immigration Controller, P.B. Abeykoon, believes most persons now leave Sri Lanka illegally by boats. “Human trafficking through the airport has been curbed due to security measures we have adopted,” he said.

However, he said, “We still have a problem. There are people producing false documents such as Birth Certificates or National Identity Cards.” Every day, he said, “we get about 10 to 15 cases involving forged documents.” They are referred to the Police Fraud Bureau.

The Insight Team found that a sizeable number of civilians from the North sold their possessions including gold or received remittances from their relatives abroad. They paid kingpins in a human trafficking ring sums ranging from Rs 1.2 to Rs 1.5 million to travel abroad in multi-day fishing trawlers.

Most headed for Australia and New Zealand. This was through the coastline from Negombo.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other News Articles
Top UN official expelled
Scandalous plunder of a battered people
Immigration Chief transfers BIA official
Sacrificial goats
Another exam snag
TID grills three journalists
Britannia no longer rules the waves but continues to waive the rules
Pre-poll violence in H’tota on the increase
Loyal party supporter left out in the cold
It’s nothing but a hop, step and a jump
TNA to discuss IDP resettlement with President tomorrow
Court calls for report on ‘invalid’ police promotions
Devananda to vie for Chief Minister’s post
Historic clock put to right
Garment industry on pins over GSP crisis
Tissainayagam verdict: West, rights groups show concern
GA moves to Kilinochchi, refugees to follow
Employing under age helpers: Householders warned
Dompe dump: Detractors Vs defenders
Concerted plan urged to fight TB
Alert policeman gets shoe-lifter in knots
Electricity Board unions, Minister on collision course
SLFEA officials take Keheliya to Court
Estate workers press for basic salary increase
Freedom at high price
Quarry or cave - President asked to decide


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2009 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution