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POSTED AT 07:20 AM 28-04-2019

Joint operations continue in Ampara

The Armed forces, police and the Special Task Force (STF) are continuing joint operations in Sammanthurai and Kalmunai in Ampara, according to Military Spokesman Brig. Sumith Atapattu.

Brig. Atapattu told the Sunday Observer that the police curfew will, therefore, be in place until further notice. “However, the volatile situation in the areas is now under control,” he said adding that the military and the police have stabilised the situation in both towns.

Following a tip-off by residents in the area regarding a suspicious group, security personnel raided a house in Kalmunai.

The raid left 15 people, including six children and three women, dead in three explosions during the raid at the Bolivarian Tsunami Housing Scheme in Sainthamaruthu, Kalmunai on Friday night. The raid also prompted a shootout between the security forces and the group in the house. The explosions, thereafter, had killed the occupants who are believed to be connected to the Easter Sunday bombings. Two of the men were found with AK 47 at the scene. Two civilians were also severely injured. Residents in the area have been evacuated to M. S. Kariapper Vidyalaya, while a police curfew was imposed in Kalmunai, Sammanthurai and Chavalakade.

The Sunday Observer learns that the owner of the rented house has gone to check on who was occupying the house after three women arrived in an unregistered brand new car. The owner was threatened and told not to trespass into the property that they had rented.Suspicious that something was amiss, he and a few other residents with the help of people at the area’s mosque had informed a traffic police officer who in turn informed the police. The bodies of the deceased were taken to the District General Hospital Ampara where the post mortems were held.Vice President of Sri Lanka’s Muslim Association Hilmy Ahmed said the Muslim community is vigilant and are cooperative in the ongoing investigations. “There is not a single Muslim who will not do whatever he or she can,” he said.

The Association also hopes to mobilise and set up committees in mosques to identify any alien in the community. The key aim is to identify if anyone is involved in preaching extremism or acts of extremism. Committees will be set up within the next two to three days. “We are also planning to introduce a hotline where people can complain to us if they are reluctant to go to the police themselves. We will take the responsibility of dealing with the authorities,” he said.