The Sri Lankan army has been accused of selling cigarettes to underage students at a canteen it runs on occupied land in Mullaitivu.
Residents of Puthukudiyiruppu said the army canteen, named ‘Kamuko Café’, had been selling cigarettes to local students, despite it being illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.
The revelations have angered locals as the canteen is already reviled for being set up on occupied private land, the return of which the landowners have been campaigning for over two years.
The canteen ran by the 68 division 682 brigade army camp, which lies on civilian land and the land of the Ponnambalam Memorial Hospital, had ceased trading for a while as protests for land release ramped up around the district.
Last year the Sri Lankan army told the Puthukudiyiruppu divisional secretariat that hospital and surrounding private lands would be released within six months, but none have been released to date.
(Below: Capture of canteen from Google Street View)