Tsunami victims flee as SLA moves into Trinco welfare centres

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 January 2005, 16:19 GMT]
Hundreds of Tsunami victims fled from welfare centres in the Sri Lanka government controlled areas in the Trincomalee district when Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers carrying weapons entered the welfare centres to take over the management Thursday on a directive by Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge, several volunteers said.

Mr.S.Elilan, Trincomalee district political head of the LTTE Thursday evening lodged a complaint with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in the east port town that the army taking over welfare centres sheltering Tsunami victims is a violation of the ceasefire agreement which is in force since February 2002. He also brought to the notice of the SLMM that the SLA soldiers are not adhering to the decision arrived at a discussion held in the SLMM office Thursday morning, sources said.

Mr.Elilan requested the SLMM to resolve the matter expeditiously, sources said.

A discussion was held at the office of the SLMM, Trincomalee office Thursday morning between Mr.Elilan, Major General Sumith Balasuriya, 211 Brigade Commander in Trincomalee and police officials to find an amicable solution to the problem of managing Tsunami welfare centres, sources said.

At the conference it was decided to allow the management of such camps in the hands of a committee comprising civil officials, namely Grama Sevaka Officer (village level officer) of the division, Samurdhi officer, a representative of the army and representatives of victims.

However a representative of the TRO would manage the camp, sources said.

But non-governmental organization sources complained Thursday evening that in contrary to the decision arrived at this discussion, soldiers with weapons had entered some welfare centres in villages, Kumburupiddy, Salli and Jamaliya to take control. Tsunami victims were taken aback when they saw groups of SLA soldiers with weapons entering their shelters and in panic several victims started leaving the centres. Most of those who fled are Tamil speaking, NGO sources said.

Majority of the refugees sheltered in the welfare centre which is located in Orr's Hill Vivekananda College left Thursday leaving only about thirty out of about 1500 following the take over of the management by army soldiers.

Tension prevailed in Jamaliya welfare centre where majority victims are Muslims when army soldiers moved in Thursday, NGO sources said.

 

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