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Army claims ‘drunken mob’ led to shooting - Eyewitness say otherwise

As Tamils who were injured after Sri Lankan soldiers fired shots in Mullaitivu last night continue to receive treatment, the army has claimed that a “drunk” mob was responsible for the “melee” and shrugged off responsibility for the violence.

Violence flared at a petrol station in Visvamadu after soldiers were seen allowing certain vehicles access to the much sought-after and small amount of fuel that had arrived. Fuel has been in short supply across the island as an economic crisis has worsened. As locals protested against the army’s preferential treatment, soldiers began beating locals.

As more locals gathered at the petrol station, dozens more soldiers also arrived and began to beat the Tamils back. Video footage from the incident shows soldiers with batons in their hands, throwing projectiles at the local Tamils.

Video footage also catches the sound of several gunshots that were fired in the air by the soldiers. 

At least two Tamils were injured in the violence and another two were arrested and detained by the military.

The Sri Lankan army however claimed this was a “orchestrated attempt by an unruly mob” in a statement released this morning.

“Preliminary investigations confirmed that this was a deliberate attempt by some suspicious elements to sabotage the goodwill and the cooperation that prevail between members of the Security Forces and the general public,” The army continued. However it did not expand on what these “suspicious elements” were.

TNA MP S Shritharan visited the petrol station last night, as heavily armed soldiers continued to patrol the area.

The incident is the latest in a series of violent episodes that have taken place as locals of queued fuel across the island.

Several instances of Sri Lankan security forces harassing intimidating beating and arresting locals have now been captured on video. No one has been held accountable for any of the violence perpetrated.

See the Sri Lankan Army's full statement below: 

Read more on the incident here: Sri Lankan army opens fire at Visvamadu petrol station

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