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Resettled people in Vanni suffer increasing SLA harassment

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 June 2010 08:57 No Comment]

 Disappearances, sexual abuse and extortion by occupying Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers in Vanni where people have been allowed to resettle have increased and the victims are helpless as there are no authorities to complain against the violence except to the SLA in Vanni, a government officer in Vanni said. Meanwhile, SLA earmarks properties with ‘Reserved for SLA’ notice boards and the owners of the marked properties have to pay large sums of money to claim their properties back, a worker of an NGO in Vanni said.

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Payments to the bank accounts of the resettled people have to go through SLA authorities in Vanni and the money extorted from people whose properties had been reserved for SLA passes easily into the hands of SLA men and it is said that millions of rupees had been paid in this manner in the last two weeks alone.

Buildings and houses earlier used or owned by Liberation Tigers are particularly targeted in this widespread extortion.

Meanwhile, within a week two teenagers in Vanni have disappeared without trace.

An 18-year-old girl, a former Liberation Tiger worker, later released through UNICCEF and living with her family in Vaddakkachchi in Ki’linochchi district has disappeared.

A 15-year-old student in Paranthan who had gone to the town to have his mobile phone charged too has disappeared.

Two more unconfirmed cases of disappearance are reported.

SLA soldiers in the sentry posts at junctions collect particulars of the residences of women passing by and then in the nights go to their houses and sexually abuse them at gun point as their helpless husbands suffer the ordeal, the NGO worker said.

In some instances people in the area have got to together to chase the soldiers away and in one incident a soldier who had fallen into a well had been thoroughly beaten.

As the culture of Tamils binds them to keep this type of incidents to themselves only some cases leak out and according to them there have been many women sexually abused by SLA soldiers particularly in Ki’linochchi, Poonakari and Mallaavi areas in Vanni, the government officer said.

He expressed concern that he is helpless and frustrated as there are no authorities in Vanni to whom the victims can complain to about the harassment by SLA soldiers.

The absence of threatening enemy or war influences the idling soldiers to commit sexual abuses, a religious priest in Vanni said.

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