The LTTE is infamous for its duplicity in dealing with the government, the people of Sri Lanka and the international community. Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke said that the LTTE’s destructive measures and its callousness in exploiting the misery of internally displaced Tamil civilians in the north and the east of Sri Lanka created by the LTTE itself, are revolting.

The latest such incident is the long-awaited and much-needed convoy of 117 trucks bearing food and essential supplies for 40,000 people trapped by weeks of heavy fighting in Sri Lanka`s restive east, was obstructed by LTTE artillery fire in the afternoon of November 28, 2006.
This convoy organized by the Commissioner General of Essential Services in cooperation with several international and local non-governmental organizations such as the ICRC, UNICEF, World Food Program etc., reached the Mankerni Entry/Exit point in the morning of November 28, and consisted of 117 vehicles of food and other essential items.

The NGO representatives, who accompanied the convoy, witnessed the LTTE attacks against the armed forces. They were cautioned by the senior military officers to proceed at their own risk.

The LTTE intermittently fired ahead of the security forces’ Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) at Kadjuwatte and Kirimichchikulam area during the day of the 28th and the security forces were compelled to neutralize LTTE fire to facilitate the movement of the convoy toward Vakarai. While the trucks were moving into the LTTE-dominated areas, the LTTE used the opportunity to move its cadres forward in the direction of the armed forces’ checkpoint. One soldier died and two others were injured during these attacks.

The food convoy was forced to turn back, but the next day, in the afternoon of November 29, 84 vehicles managed to get across to the LTTE-held areas in Vakarai. According to the ICRC, a convoy of 35 trucks organized by the Department of Essential Services in collaboration with the ICRC and the UN reached Vakarai on November 29th.

The Head of the ICRC delegation in Colombo, Mr. Toor Vandenhove, said, “Many difficulties had to be overcome to organize this convoy. But thanks to meticulous preparation, the security guarantees provided by both parties to the conflict and the active involvement of many people, we finally succeeded in reaching the thousands of displaced people, who are primarily in urgent need of food.”

The relief operation received support from volunteers of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, an Italian Red Cross team, World Food Program, UNICEF, UNHCR and World Vision.

It is evident that after weeks of complaining about a humanitarian condition prevailing in the area, the LTTE deliberately obstructed the relief convoy from reaching the civilians in Vakarai, to discredit the government in the eyes of the international community. Earlier, the LTTE complained that the security forces hindered relief supplies from getting into uncleared areas in the east, an accusation, which was finally disproved before the representatives of international NGOs.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

01 December 2006

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