Tamil Eelam: Lone survivor succumbs to injuries

Pottuvil and surrounding Muslim areas were gripped in tension yesterday with the Muslim civilian population demanding security guarantees and the removal of a high ranking STF officer in the area, 24 hours after the murder of 11 Muslims.

The lone survivor and the only known witness to the massacre, Meera Mohideen (55) was warded at the ICU of the Ampara hospital. Earlier yesterday there were reports that said he has sucumbed to his injuries. Hospital sources confirmed later in then night that he was still alive.

Mohideen who was in serious condition after suffering severe cut injuries was rushed to the Pottuvil Hospital and was later transferred to Ampara on Monday.

SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeen who visited the area on the day the bodies were recovered told The Morning Leader that the murders were a serious security breach as it had happened in government controlled land. He added that the STF had to take responsibility in answering the queries of the Muslim population as the area where the massacre had occurred was surrounded by several STF camps.

“How can the government or the STF blame the terrorists when the area was under the guard of the STF? We are not holding the STF responsible for the gruesome murders but they have to be held responsible for this security breach. The Muslim civilians entered this area two months ago because the government had declared it safe,” Hakeem said.

However, the government yesterday denied any responsibility on the part of the STF to the murders. It has blamed the Tigers for carrying them out.

The SLMC Leader further said that the Muslim population should keep an open mind on who should be held responsible for the murders and called upon the government to conduct a speedy and impartial inquiry.

Meanwhile a resident in the area told The Morning Leader that the Muslim population in the area would continue the hartal till such time the high ranking STF officer was removed from his duties.

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He said that the Muslims had been angered at the STF for not protecting the 10 slain Muslims as the area where the massacre had occurred had been declared safe by the government.

“The government cannot immediately pin point their fingers at the LTTE. No party can be held responsible till such time an impartial inquiry is held,” the resident said.

He added that the Muslims in the area were also weary of holding the LTTE responsible, as the murders were well planned and conducted “leisurely”.

“The victims were tortured and cut to death. This was a well-planned attack. It is highly unlikely that the LTTE could infiltrate into an area carrying swords and then left without the STF spotting them. What were the STF doing?” the resident said.

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Burning tyres were laid across the main roads in Pottuvil and Akkaraipattu yesterday morning and public life came to a standstill. However, Police in the area said that other than the hartal no major incidents had been reported. Meanwhile, the Air Force bombed an LTTE training base in Batticaloa yesterday morning. The military said that the base had come under fire from Monday night and the bombings had caused heavy damage.

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