Sri Lankan army officers shot at three unarmed Tamil men in Vavuniya, leaving one of them hospitalised. They claimed that they acted in response to being shot at by the three men, however the men insisted they were unarmed and had only gone to the local forest to cut down some trees.
“They said that we fired. The only ‘weapons’ we had were our [bi]cycles and the trees we cut, but even that we left behind. We just walked down the road, this is the truth. They claimed we were ‘firing’ at them. This is something we cannot accept.” pic.twitter.com/8zNKZTkR9N
— Tamil Guardian (@TamilGuardian) February 3, 2021
“They said that we fired. The only ‘weapons’ we had were our cycles and the trees we cut, but even those we left behind and were just walking down the road. This is the truth. They are claiming we were ‘firing’ at them. This is something we cannot accept,” said one of the victims of the attack. “If you want to punish us for cutting down the trees, we are more than happy to accept any punishment for that. However, we do not even know what ‘firing’ is.”
The three Tamil men went to the forests in the Vavuniya Cheddikulam Per Aru area to cut down some trees on Monday, when they were attacked by the Sri Lankan army officers.
One of the victims recalled the unprovoked attack, “I like visiting the Per Aru forests so when my friends suggested that they were going to cut down the trees there, I went along with them. We cut the trees but as it was very rainy we couldn’t bring back the trees with us. It would have been very difficult to bring back the trees on the bicycles we came on so we just abandoned the trees we cut and decided to go back home. We walked for about 15 minutes and then reached a stretch of narrow roads. Suddenly we were ambushed by hidden Special Task Force (STF) and army officers so we panicked and started running. They attacked us and it hit two of us and luckily I was unharmed.”
The Sri Lankan police media division claimed yesterday that the army had opened fire on them only because the army were fired at.
One of the victims injured in the incident was admitted initially to the Cheddikulam Divisional Hospital and then transferred to the Vavuniya Hospital for further treatment, whilst another victim sustained minor injuries. The third victim escaped with no injuries.
Cheddikulam police are currently conducting investigations into the incident.