COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s military has rejected allegations that the arrest of a woman and her daughter who were searching for their kin missing from the country’s civil war was an act of retribution.

Human rights activists say Thursday’s arrest of Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13-year-old daughter Vibhooshika is part of the government’s continuing efforts to intimidate families of the missing from the civil war.

Jeyakumari was prominent during protests calling for the release of her 15-year-old son, a child conscript of the Tamil Tiger rebels. Her daughter also joined her in protests.

Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said in a statement Saturday that the two were arrested for harboring a former rebel who shot at police and fled when they tried to catch him.