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Ample food stocks in Wanni

Dispatches done one month ahead, says Essential Services Commissioner:

COLOMBO: The Government yesterday allayed fears of an imminent food shortage in the Wanni as the re-opening of the only entry-exit points at Omanthai and Uliyankulam was delayed further.

Essential Services Commissioner S.B.Divarathne told the Daily News that he was not aware of any imminent food shortage in the area, as the Government had sent enough stocks of food and medicine on schedule.

According to Divarathne, the Government has been sending food stocks one month ahead to address any crisis situation and this had been the practice since this January. He said he had not received any report from the Civil administrators in the area about a food shortage and added that his department was geared to handle any crisis situation.

The Commissioner agreed that a prolonged delay would inevitably lead to a shortage and added that this sort of tactics by the LTTE would only increase the hardships of an already overburdened civilian population.

Colonel Gamini Nanayakkara, the Co-ordinating officer for Civil Administration in the Vavuniya region, also refuted claims of an imminent food shortage.

Colonel Nanayakkara said talks were continuing with the ICRC to sort out the matter. Talks were scheduled yesterday but the outcome was not known at the time of going to press.

According to the Colonel, the LTTE is forcibly keeping away civilians from using the exit point, even for emergency requirements. The LTTE had turned away two civilians who had arrived to go abroad yesterday.

Colonel Nanayakkara added that he had received a call from a Roman Catholic nun in the area that she had been forcibly prevented by the LTTE from using the exit point to visit a seriously ill relative at the Vavuniya hospital.

The Colonel saying the Army never obstructed civilian movement, added that two LTTE cadres who had tried to breakthrough the barrier at Omanthai had been handed over to Vavuniya police.

The ICRC had to withdraw their offices in Omanthai and Uliyankulam due to safety concerns on May 22 as the LTTE launched mortar attacks on the two road blocks. A civilian vehicle was also fired at during the incident.

Meanwhile, sources revealed that the LTTE is trying to keep the Wanni civilians in captivity to cover up its tyrannical rule in the uncleared areas.

The sources revealed that arbitrary executions, torture and abductions have become the order of the day in the Wanni as the civilians continued to distance themselves from the LTTE.

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