COLOMBO, April 1, Reuter ‘Three hundred Moslems protested outside a mosque in Colombo on Friday against Tamil guerrilla attacks on two villages in east Sri Lanka that left 17 dead. Demonstrators shouting “Allah O—Akbar” (God is Great) walked out of a city mosque carrying placards blaming the government and the Indian troops for not protecting Moslem civilians. “Either protect us or give us weapons to protect ourselves,” one demonstrator, who asked not to be identified, said. He waved a placard that said: “40 killed at Kalmunai”,

Officials said 17 people were killed in guerrilla raids on Thursday on the Moslem villages of Mallaiyakadu and Sainamuruthu, five km from Kalmunai town and 40 km south of Batticaloa.

Police were unable to confirm a higher figure of 40 dead reported by residents, who said rebels set fire to 100 houses in the rampage.

Rice mills, bagged rice, cars and Lorries were torched in the two hour attack by 40 gunmen belonging to a group called ‘Three Stars ‘residents said.

Indian officials have denied residents’ chargest that Indian soldiers looked on and did nothing to prevent the violence.

“Soldiers rushed to the area when informed of the attacks but be that time everything was over,” one official said.

More than 50,000 Indian troops have been deployed in Sri Lanka under last year’s Indo Sri Lanka accord aimed at ending a five year old Tamil revolt for a separate state.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 8, 1988