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Muttur displaced resettlement to commence in one week

COLOMBO: The Government is expected to commence resettlement of the Muttur displaced within one week, by which time clearing of the town and reviving the basic services in the area is to be completed.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Muslim Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentarians at Temple Trees yesterday to discuss the position of the ongoing relief operation in Muttur.

At the meeting the President stressed the action of the LTTE was not an eventuality and the outfit had a blue print of a long felt need to expel Muslims from the North and East. "I will not let any community be it Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim fall prey to LTTE bullets."

He said getting the Mavil Aru released will not be the end, as the LTTE was working on a strategy to weaken Trincomalee and its Harbour hoping to capture this strategic location and expel the Sinhala and Muslim communities from the areas.

It transpired that the damage caused to the Muttur hospital, electricity supply and other basic services have hampered attempts by people to return to their home town, now under full control of the Government Forces. The President said they were expediting relief supplies and the work to restore all damaged infrastructure. Over 20,000 people were displaced in the three days of heavy fighting, triggered by the lightning attack on Muttur by the LTTE last week.

"There are about 1,500 families who had stayed behind and they have been provided food and water by the Government through Army personnel involved in the humanitarian mission," Acting Military spokesman Brig. Athula Jayawardena said about the current situation in the area.

The displaced are sheltered at different camps in Kantale and Seruwawila and some families are returning to their homes during the day.

"We have already sent medical teams comprising nurses and other medical staff and also medical supplies to the Muttur hospital. A team of three army doctors left for Muttur hospital yesterday.

The injured in the Muttur attack were rushed to the Kantale and Trincomalee Hospitals for treatment. The LTTE had shelled the hospital, an IDP camp and a school. During the LTTE brief occupation in the town, they had vandalised state banks and Telecom offices among other important places.

"The security in Muttur is very good but we need to restore the basic services," the Parliamentarians stressed pointing out that if not the families will opt not to return to their homes.

The clearing of the bodies, mostly of LTTE cadres, scattered in and around the Muttur town, began yesterday after the Magistrate visited the area to perform inquests the day before.

"The bodies are highly decomposed and need to be buried as soon as possible," the military spokesman said adding that there were over 100 bodies of LTTE cadres.

Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana, Petroleum Resources and Transport Minister A. H. M. Fowzie, Housing and Eastern Development Minister Ferial Ashraff, SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem and Deputy Media Minister Cegu Issadeen were among those who present at the meeting yesterday.

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