|Soldier nears 50 days in Tiger custody
Kumara with the Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) was seized by LTTE cadres on December 24 when he unwittingly crossed the front-line in the Welioya area. He served the fifth volunteer battalion.
The LTTE wants the government to send lawyers to Kilinochchi to secure the soldiers release. Pending such an appointment, the LTTE has appointed a lawyer to represent Kumara, a resident of Nakulugamuwa (east) at Beliatta. His family and people of the area held a demonstration to protest the governments failure to secure the soldiers release.
Army headquarters denied LTTE claims that the soldier was engaged in spying.
The LTTE expects the Attorney Generals Department or the armys legal division to make representations in Kilinochchi. "It would be a huge victory for them," an authoritative source said, adding that "it would also give recognition to so-called Thamil Eelam police."
The government has ruled out the possibility of accepting the legality of the LTTE police, its courts or the administration. The source pointed out that if the government accepts the legality of the Tiger courts with regard to one case, it would set a bad precedent. "There would not be an end to similar incidents," he said.
The government is in touch with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the ICRC regarding the incident. Defence Secretary Austin Fernando raised the issue when he met with LTTE negotiator Karuna in Batticaloa on January 30.
Since the cease-fire agreement came into effect on February 22 last year, the LTTE abducted two soldiers in the Batticaloa district. Twenty eight-year-old Arumugam Soundarajah, a father of two was abducted on July 3. Forty six-year-old Sivasambu was seized on January 3. The LTTE refuses to accept responsibility for their disappearances.
Thirty-six-year-old soldier Anthony Claire, a father of seven children was abducted on February 9 last year during the period the two parties observed an unofficial cease-fire. The LTTE denied responsibility.
The LTTE recently made an abortive bid to seize another Tamil soldier also in the Batticaloa district. The military said the LTTE was taking advantage of the ceasefire to target Tamil soldiers, some of them involved in the intelligence apparatus. They were among former members of the LTTE and other Tamil groups who opted to join the army.
Under the Oslo-arranged agreement the government agreed to bring the remaining cadres under the command and control structure of the army for deployment outside the north-east.
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