Thousands of refugees in the north are protesting against a move by a militant Tamil political group to return to Jaffna with weapons and involve itself in civil administration on the peninsula. Douglas Devananda, leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party, is seeking permission from the Government to return to the former stronghold of the separatist Tamil Tigers, now that the rebels have been driven out of the area by the military. But thousands of Tamil refugees, who are attempting start life afresh in the north, have accused the party of creating security problems. Several refugees have expressed fears to the Government Agent in the north that the re-emergence of armed gangs in the peninsula would result in chaos and civil unrest. Mr Devananda said he was seeking government permission to open an office in Jaffna and to move in heavily armed cadres to provide personal security. 'We want to return to Jaffna and work for the people. Jaffna is our home town and it would not look good if the Army escorts us. So it is important that we go in armed,' Mr Devananda said. The party - one of five militant groups operating out of Colombo - is fighting alongside government forces against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the northeast. The party has been enjoying state patronage because of its political and military importance. But many claim it has been stepping out of line - and successive governments have been turning a blind eye to its high-handed activities. The group has been accused of killings, harassment of rival political groups and misuse of weapons provided by the state to fight the Tamil Tigers. The party, which contested the last parliamentary elections in the Jaffna district, clashed with other militant Tamil groups during the campaign. The leaders of some four other militant Tamil organisations have been demanding the party be disarmed in the north and the police and Navy be deployed to ensure security on all islands around the peninsula. The second demand was met, but security chiefs baulked at the first. They maintain the party is providing security for the islands and should not be disarmed. Tamil Tiger guerillas attacked an army camp at Jayanthiyaya yesterday killing 17 soldiers, defence officials said.