Sri Lanka president orders police probe on Tamil evictions

COLOMBO, June 8, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president Friday promised an investigation into police action that forced hundreds of ethnic Tamils from the capital at gunpoint in early morning raids condemned around the World.

President Mahinda Rajapakse invited evicted people back to Colombo and ordered a disciplinary probe against the police chief responsible.

Officers led by Inspector General Victor Perera forced Tamils out of their sleep and bussed them 260 kilometres (160 miles) north of Colombo to a detention centre early Thursday.

“Allegations that officials exceeded their authority in implementing this initiative will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate remedial action will be taken,” a statement from president Rajapakse’s office said.

It promised “disciplinary action against any wrongdoing on the part of any government official.”

The presidential orders went out after the Supreme Court halted the evictions and the United States, a key ally of the government, led international condemnation of Thursday’s events.

Police sources said they were trying to undo the damage by arranging five buses Friday evening to bring back to Colombo the Tamils who were forcibly removed from low-budget h