More youth missing in East

by Norman Palihawadana
SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem cut short his official visit to Saudi Arabia and returned home on Sunday morning as the Scandinavian truce monitors reported four more disappearances in the east.

The SLMC leader was scheduled to return on Tuesday (26), a party spokesman said. But during his short stay there, the SLMC leader briefed Prime Minister of Pakistan Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali of the deteriorating situation in eastern Sri Lanka. The meeting took place in Jeddah, the spokesman said.

Hakeem is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday to discuss ways and means of tackling the worsening situation.

The Norwegian-led monitoring mission yesterday said they have received four complaints relating to the disappearance of four Tamil youth in the Akkaraipattu area in the Batticaloa district.

"We received four separate complaints on Saturday," a spokesperson for their Ampara office said. "We are in the process of inquiring these cases," he said.

Responding to questions, he said that he was unable to identify the people responsible for the disappearances.

Tamil and Muslim sources in the east said the situation continued to deteriorate. Some expressed fears that the Tamils were abducted by armed Muslim gangs. But the Muslims have denied this allegation.

Last week two Muslims disappeared in the Batticaloa district. Police havenít been able to locate them. Their disappearances followed the killing of two Muslims at Sinnawatte in the Malwatte area.