2ND LEAD (UPDATE)

Sinhala villagers block ICRC food convoy to Muttur

[TamilNet, Friday, 04 August 2006, 11:09 GMT]
A food convoy led by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) Friday morning from Trincomalee town to Muttur to supply food materials to civilians displaced due to the fighting between SLA and LTTE was stopped at Kantalai by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on Friday afternoon around 1 p.m. The SLA refused permission for the convoy to proceed along Kantalai-Allai road to Muttur citing security reasons, ICRC sources in Colombo said.

The convoy, comprising 16 trucks with food materials, four ICRC vehicles and two ambulances, is now stranded in Kantalai town awaiting instructions from Colombo political leadership, sources said.

Sources in Kantalai said that the convoy was stopped because of a protest being held in Serunuwara that international humanitarian agencies and NGOs have failed to come to the rescue of the suffering villagers following the stoppage of water through Mavil Aaru sluice gate.

The protesting Sinhala villagers also argued that Muslims by vacating Muttur have endangered the security of the southern sector of the Trincomalee district.

Local ICRC officials, trying to diffuse the situation, declined to comment on the issue.

 

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