At least four Tamils have been arrested after the Sri Lankan military launched a search operation in Jaffna, following a clash between local Tamils and soldiers in Nagarakovil on Wednesday.
As the local community celebrated Thai Pongal, an argument broke out in Vadamarachchi East after a soldier reportedly attempted to stop a Tamil man on a motorcycle. The incident began to escalate, with relatives of the local man gathering around to support him, when a reported physical clash broke out between the soldiers and local Tamils. It is unclear whether anyone was injured in the clash.
At approximately 3 am the next day, the Sri Lankan military launched a search operation, stating it was seeking to arrest a group of “young suspects”. So far four people have been taken into custody.
An area-wide lockdown has been enforced whereby no one is being permitted to leave and no outsiders are allowed in.
The four people have been reportedly arrested on suspicion of attacking army personnel and have been interrogated by Sri Lankan police. The authorities, however, claim that Tamil man who was riding the motorcycle originally has still not been detained, and claimed that he has gone into hiding.
Sri Lankan police and military officials are still actively engaging in an intense search operation across the area.