Front Page


Armed 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.

These sources 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.

Interior Ministry 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.

The government 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.

Meanwhile, 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 districts.

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'.

Back to Top  Back to Front Page  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Contact us: | Editorial | | Webmaster|