TRO urges SL Government to release lorry driver detained by SLA

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 July 2006, 13:51 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army and Police personnel, on Thursday, detained a lorry transporting 22 boat engines from Trincomalee Tamil Rehbilitation Organisation's office to TRO's "Back to Work," an "Emergency Italy" funded post-tsunmai rehabilitation project in Punochchimunai, a Muslim village, in Batticaloa District. TRO, on Saturday, appealed to the Government of Sri Lanka, the international humanitarian community and human rights organizations for the release of the lorry, the driver and the outboard engines.

The project in Punochchimunai is part of a 600,000 Euro project funded by Emergency Italy, TRO officials said.

TRO has issued a press release providing the details. Full text of the press release follows:

30 June 2006

Detention of Lorry & Driver Transporting TRO Outboard Motors for Tsunami Fishermen

On Thursday 29 June 2006 at approximately 16h30 Sri Lanka Army and Police personnel detained a lorry and its driver, Mutturkumarasamy Uthayakumar (NIC# 681673385V). The lorry was transporting 22 Yamaha 15 HP kerosene engines from Trincomalee Town to a TRO Tsunami “Back to Work” Project for fishermen in Punochchimunai, Batticaloa District.

The private lorry picked up the 22 engines from the Trincomalee TRO Office (the engines were purchased by TRO in Trincomalee Town) on 29 June 2006 and was transporting the engines to Batticaloa via the Trincomalee-Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa route. At the Manampitty Bridge Army Checkpoint the lorry was stopped. The driver, when asked about his destination and the goods he was transporting, produced the letter from the TRO Trincomalee Office stating that the intended destination was Punochchimunai in the Batticaloa District and that the outboard engines were for a TRO Tsunami “Back to Work” project. At that time the Army personnel arrested the driver, impounded the lorry and handed both over to the Polonnaruwa Town Police. I.P. Chandrapala (OSCDCDP) has asked TRO Trincomalee staff to come to the Polonnaruwa Police Station.

The outboard engines are part of TRO’s “Rebuild a Village Project” for the Muslim village of Punochchimunai in the Batticaloa District. The project consists of the building 91 permanent houses, 30 fibreglass fishing boats (with nets and engines), 40 canoes (with nets), a community centre, 286 “Back to School” packages, and the rebuilding of the road from the sea to the village and the internal roads.

TRO appeals to the Government of Sri Lanka, the international humanitarian community and human rights organizations for the release of the lorry, the driver and the outboard engines. These outboard engines are part of a tsunami humanitarian relief project and should be allowed to reach the intended destination without hindrance.

TRO appeals to the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the protection of all humanitarian workers and the civilian population.


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