The Government has classified the ‘Aava Group’ as a criminal gang operating in the Northern Province with no connections with the LTTE.
Rejecting the group’s alleged involvements with the military, State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said: “Aava Group is a local gang in the North using motorcycles for criminal activities. During a short period of time they have established a name by threatening and taking ransom from locals. This not a group operated by the military, which has no reason to do so.”
“However, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne is correct to a certain extent. One of the three suspects arrested in connection with the Aava Group was in the army before. He is a Tamil person and an army deserter. He has joined this group. Investigations are underway to see if the military is involved in this,” he added.
Giving the historical background to Aawa, Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayaka said: “Two parties have clashed in 2011 at Amman Kovil in Inuvil, Jaffna. One party has grouped up to attack their opponents and later the same group started engaging in illegal activities in Jaffna. They have started identifying them as Aava Group. Kumares Raththinam Vinodan alias Aawa of Inuvil is identified as the leader of this illegal group. He is now on remand. Most members of Aava Group are aged between 18 – 25 years. They have assaulted university students, engaged in robberies and have taken ransoms in Jaffna, Kopai, Chunnakam, Manipai, Chavakachcheri police divisions. Later, they have engaged in contract crimes. In certain instances, some of them have been arrested and have served prison terms as well. The entire group has 60 members out of which 38 are now in custody. We are on the lookout for 8 leaders of different levels.” (AH)