A Jaffna schoolgirl claimed by the LTTE to have been abducted by the army on Tuesday has been found safe at home, prompting the Ministry of Defence to harshly criticise the Tigers for spreading false propaganda.
TamilNet and other LTTE machinery went into overdrive on Tuesday, alleging the abduction of the girl. The former reported that: `A school girl, yet to be identified, was forcefully taken away by four Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers when she was walking home along PaalPannai Road (Milk farm Road) from school between Kondavil and Thirunelvely junctions in Jaffna at 2 p.m. Tuesday, residents of the area who witnessed the incident said.`
It claimed that `residents of the area and a youth witness, who saw the girl dragged by the SLA, searched the shrub area near where she was abducted for signs of evidence`.
Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians also took the allegation to President Mahinda Rajapakse who called for a report from the Chief of Defence Staff.
However, SLMM conducted inquiries later Tuesday and found the story to be false, said a statement from the Ministry of Defence.
Asked for a comment, SLMM Spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir said that the monitors had searched the army camp where the girl was alleged to have been held but found no evidence. `It was never a case,` she said. `It`s off our desk.`
`Information given to the Army by guardians of the girl in question confirmed that the teenage girl has returned home, reportedly after an alleged tour of the town with someone else,` the Defence Ministry statement said.
The statement claimed that the LTTE had `tried hard` to provoke civilians in Kondavil against the alleged abduction. `This concocted LTTE canard once again, clearly, reinforces that the LTTE was hell-bent on provoking the masses against the troops deployed in this area,` it complained.
There was no comment from the LTTE.