The four persons allegedly killed by the Army at Mawil Aru on Thursday (June 28) were reportedly poaching at Mavil Aru and were mistaken by the forces of being Tiger cadres, the Daily Mirror learns.
The group of Muslims was from Palliyagodella in Medirigiriya and had reached Mavil Aru on Thursday, the day President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Somawathiya Chaithya and when the Army was on red alert in the area fearing possible LTTE threats on the President.
The group who had left their homes a few days ago for poaching had been carrying shot guns when they were confronted by the Army west of Mavil Aru, some 20 km away from their homes, it is learnt.
On seeing the group of armed men coming out of the jungle, the Army had allegedly opened fire, killing four, but one had fled the scene with injuries.
The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) website carried a report on Thursday saying that troops had killed eleven LTTE cadres west of Mavil Aru.
Meanwhile, a group of print and electronic media personnel, who were on their way to cover an event related to resettlement of IDPs in Verugal, visited the scene on hearing the incident.
The Army, which by then had been under the impression that they had killed Tiger cadres, had shown the bodies of four persons to the media team. A Lieutenant had pointed out two cyanide capsules, two grenades and a radio lying on the ground, saying they belonged to the four `LTTE cadres` that they had killed.The bodies had then been handed over to the Kantale Hospital.
Following the visit of media persons, more reports appeared on the Army attack in the print and electronic media, this time on four of the eleven LTTE cadres that the MCNS initially said had tried to infiltrate the Mavil Aru area.
However by then, the sole survivor of the incident had reached his home in Palliyagodella and related the story to the villagers. On Friday, a story appeared on the MCNS website saying that fleeing LTTE cadres had killed four civilians in Mavil Aru, which created the impression that LTTE cadres had been present in Mavil Aru area even on the day President visited Somawathi Chaithya.
SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem who visited Palliyagodella yesterday to meet the family members of the four Muslims told the Daily Mirror that there was no denial of the fact that the Muslims were at fault when they entered the forests for poaching.
However, he said the manner in which the cyanide capsules and grenades were found to be introduced on the scene and the attempts to cover up the whole incident raised serious doubts about the law and order situation in the country.