LTTE hold 300 patients hostage
*Prevents ICRC, UN transferring them from
Puthukkudiyiruppu to Vavuniya
*Army offers full facilities but Tigers refuse to
ICRC and UN officials, who went to Puthukkudiyiruppu
area to fetch some three hundred patients to be transferred to Vavuniya
Hospital for further treatment were refused and turned away by Tiger
terrorists yesterday afternoon while holding all those patients captive
as 'human shields'.
Those ICRC and UN officials with the intention of
bringing those 300 patients in Puthukkudiyiruppu uncleared areas to
Vauniya on 16 ambulances, seven trucks and one other vehicle had reached
the LTTE roadblock to transfer those patients to vehicles provided by
the troops in cleared areas.
Troops serving cleared areas in Puthukkudiyiruppu
responded positively and simultaneously organised 12 ambulances and five
buses to pick the sick for further passage to Vavuniya hospital after
ICRC and UN officials brought them to the cleared areas on their
vehicles between 10.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon yesterday. Three doctors, 12
nurses and eight attendants on those vehicles, sent from Vavuniya
awaited at the Puthukkudiyiruppu front-line, held by the troops
expecting to receive the patients, but to no avail.
Finally, ICRC and UN officials contacting military
authorities have reported that the patients on 16 ambulances, World Food
Programme (WFP) trucks and another vehicle were being held, detained and
prevented from entering cleared areas by gun-carrying LTTE men who have
had heated arguments with ICRC and UN officials over non-release.
A request from ICRC and UN officials for further
extension of time allocation by another hour or so for the movement of
those patients was also immediately granted by the troops in view of the
humanitarian nature of the whole mission.
However, by about 1,30 p.m. yesterday final hopes for
secure of the release ended in smoke, as all ICRC and UN official had to
give-up the idea and informed the troops of their failure to get the
release of those vehicles with patients to move into Vavuniya Hospital,
as scheduled and co-ordinated, following an ICRC request made to the
Wanni Security Forces Headquarters.
Troops, despite several security risks, involved in
accepting the challenge of dispatching those patients, resident outside
the demarcated 'No Fire Zone' were all out to extend their fullest
co-operation for the vehicle movement after strengthening security all
along the A-9 road, but the Tigers with the sinister motive of causing
havoc and bloodbath taking them as human shields refrained the ICRC and
UN from embarking on this humanitarian mission.
ICRC and UN delegations that failed in this
humanitarian mission included four expatriates including a few local
workers who had now vowed to take the matter up with their headquarters
It was just four days ago, the UN in a strongly-worded
letter asked the LTTE to immediately stop harassing UN staff engaged in
humanitarian missions in LTTE held areas.
Courtesy - Daily News