2nd Lead (Add photos)
Kinniya Tamil refugees' problems discussed at Trinco conference
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 02 December 2003, 16:07 GMT]
At a conference held Tuesday at the office of the United Nation High Commission for Refugees in Trincomalee town, representatives of non-governmental organizations brought to the notice of the authorities of the difficulties they have been facing in taking essential food items and other relief to the Tamil villages of Alankerni and Eechantivu in the Kinniya division, sources said.
The conference focused its attention on the supply of humanitarian assistance to displaced families, especially of the Tamil community in the Kinniya division who have been displaced following threats from Muslim groups to their lives in the past weeks in the wake of killings of Muslims in the area, sources said.
When food assistance to these displaced families was being taken, the Muslim groups blocked the vehicles, preventing any assistance from reaching them. Eventually the Government Agent of Trincomalee had to seek the Sri Lanka Army’s assistance in distributing the assistance.
About two thousand Tamil families are languishing in a refugee camp in Eechantivu for want of humanitarian assistance, NGO representatives said at the conference.
Major General Sunil Tennekoon told representatives of local and
international NGOs in the district that the Sri Lanka Army is in a position to help such distribution of humanitarian assistance to the displaced if they send such assistance through the army, sources said.
Mr. Gamini Rodrigo, the Trincomalee GA who presided at the
conference, said the government has directed to supply cooked
meals for three days to the refugees first and two weeks' free dry ration thereafter,
Major General Tennekoon said that at a meeting held at Alankerni with
the participation of religious leaders and LTTE area representatives, it was
agreed to work for the gradual return of normalcy in areas affected by
violence in recent days, sources said.
Acting head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Trincomalee, Mr.Kurt Spur,
said that his monitors would visit the villages affected by violence daily.
Major General Sunil Tennekoon denied third party involvement behind the
current unrest between the Muslims and Tamils. He further said he could not
comment on the question whether there was political background behind the