Relief convoy delayed, awaits ICRC escort

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 April 1999, 22:06 GMT]
There is uncertainty regarding a proposed relief convoy to the Vanni, as the lorries transporting the food and essentials are unable to secure the usual escort from the ICRC, sources said.

The association of lorry drivers transporting food in the Vanni made a request to the ICRC to provide the customary escort for the convoy from Iluppaikadavai to the 9th mile post between Uylankulam and Murunkan along Mannar Road.

The ICRC escorts relief convoys across the front lines in the north between areas held by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Liberation Tigers (LTTE).

Sources in Vanni said that the 15 mile stretch is a tense area now as the SLA has captured areas around Madhu Church in the Mannar district.

They added that the transport route is now not considered safe as artillery shells fired by the SLA based at Thallady, the main camp in the Mannar district, often fall in the area.

The drivers had requested the escort of the ICRC for a period of one month.

Sources in Vavuniya said that the ICRC seems to be unable to continue to escort the convoys.

Officials in Vanni said that the convoy scheduled to leave on April 8 had been unable to depart as a result.

K.Ganesh the Government Agent in Vavuniya is negotiating with the ICRC for the necessary escort, sources in Vavuniya said.

All food convoys to the Vanni came to a standstill soon after the SLA launched operation Rana Gosha on March 18 to capture Iranai Iluppaikulam and then the Madhu area.

The food convoys resumed on April 5, via a new route, through the 9th mile post between Uylankulam and Murunkan.

Government officials said that the food transport to the Vanni has not returned due to the difficulties restoring the ICRC escort.

 

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