SLA blocks civilians' dry rations
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 November 1999, 11:24 GMT]
The Sri Lankan military authorities have told the government officials in Vavuniya not to provide dry rations to thousand of civilians moved from the town last week, Kachcheri sources said.
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) authorities told government officials at a meeting held yesterday that people had moved from the town without being affected and therefore they would not be permitted to provide dry rations to them.
"Supply of dry rations will not be permitted as it will discourage them from returning to their homes," the army had said. The SLA has also prevented aid agencies from helping the people, the sources added.
The Government Agent had earlier appealed to the Commissioner Essential Service, seeking his approval to provide relief to the Vavuniya civilians currently living in Aasikulam and Rasenthirakulam.
The Commissioner, N. A. Obdage, has now taken steps to provide dry rations to families who have monthly income less than 1500 rupees, only after returning to their home, the sources said.
Nearly one hundred thousand residents of Vavuniya moved out of the town following radio broadcasts by the Liberation Tigers requesting civilians to relocate to designated safe areas as the town might come under attack at any time.
The Sri Lanka Army has been pouring troops and equipment into Vavuniya ahead of an expected LTTE offensive against the town and has been appealing the civilians to return to the town.
Sources said there was more activity in the Vavuniya town, with banks and government offices functioning from this morning. However, the residents have not returned, they added.
A Muslim trader contacted by TamilNet said there is more activity in the town as businessmen and government officers have come today. "But I have not come to stay in the town" he added.
Meanwhile the SLA has fired shells from its positions in Vavuniya towards LTTE held areas this morning and last night said. They said the SLA is believed to have retaliated to LTTE shelling.