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Sri Lankan police arrest 30 Tamil youth alleged to be part of ‘Aava gang’

Sri Lankan security forces arrested at least 30 Tamil youths earlier this month, claiming that they were members of the ‘Aava gang’ responsible for various acts of violence in the region.

The youth were reportedly gathered in Kilinochchi to celebrate the birthday of gang leader ‘Sanna’ who is currently residing in France. Following the celebrations, Sri Lankan police arrested at least 30 people after they received information about the gathering.

At least two of the youth arrested are reported to be under 16 years old.

Earlier this year, authorities claim to have arrested other ‘Aava gang’ members who were also celebrating a birthday.

The gang, which has reportedly carried out several acts of violence in the region, has been linked to Sri Lankan military intelligence. In December, a Sri Lankan brigadier who had been previously removed from a posting due to links with military-backed gangs causing unrest in Jaffna, has been appointed the head of State Intelligence Service (SIS) by Sri Lanka’s new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Brigadier Suresh Salley was Sri Lanka’s former Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) when a wave of unrest swept through the Jaffna peninsula in 2016, which authorities blamed on the ‘Aava gang’. Sri Lankan police had also shot dead two Tamil teenagers.