Tension in north following attack on Coast Guard patrol

Action against illegal sand mining triggers incident

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Tension is high in the north in the wake of Tamil youth attacking a Coast Guard (CG) patrol at Thunnalai north, Vallipuram in the Point Pedro area on Friday (July 21) evening following the Coast Guard detaining a group of sand miners and one small lorry.

Security sources told The Sunday Island that a gang of persons had rescued the detained persons and took away the lorry after having attacked CG personnel with various objects. Sources said that one coast guard had suffered head injuries and was admitted to Kankesanturai hospital.

CG personnel had fired into the air to control the situation.

Security Forces headquarters and Navy headquarters had been informed of the situation and immediate measures taken to avert further incidents. Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne yesterday visited those who had faced mob attack.

CG push cycles had been damaged by those who carried out the attack and escaped, sources said, adding that at the time the CG patrol intervened there were three sand filled lorries.

Over a week ago, a gang went on the rampage causing damage to police property, including a Buffel armoured personnel carrier belonging to the elite Special Task Force (STF) after police opened fire on a truck transporting sand.

Those who had been involved were yet to be arrested, sources said, adding that groups involved in illegal sand mining were increasingly challenging law enforcement authorities.

Well informed sources said that the military top brass had repeatedly cautioned the forces deployed in the northern region to act with restrain in spite of grave provocations.

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