The Security Forces yesterday lodged a strong protest with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission that the LTTE was taking undue advantage out of the safety guarantee provided to transport food convoys to the uncleared areas in Vakarai to feed nearly 30,000 civilians stranded there.
Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe told the Daily News yesterday that out of the 120 Vakarai bound lorries, 85 crossed the Kajuwatta entry exit point to reach Vakarai.
The ICRC yesterday confirmed that 35 food lorries organised by the Essential Services Commissioner in cooperation with the ICRC and the UN reached Vakarai town by early yesterday afternoon.
The convoy carried 250 Metric tonnes of food, water, items such as tents, hygiene kits and medicines for distribution to more than 30,000 civilians.
Brigadier Samarasinghe said that the rest of the lorries were stopped at Mankerni after the Security Forces complained to the SLMM about the LTTE exploiting the situation when the food convoy reach Vakarai.
`The rest of the lorries had to be stopped at Mankerni as around 200 armed LTTE cadres had come forward and established a new defence line ahead of the Security Forces Forward Defence Line in Kajuwatta,` the Brigadier said.
`The LTTE too used this opportunity to attack an Army foot patrol in Vakarai West,` the Brigadier added.
The Government Agent in Batticaloa, the ICRC and some international NGOs arranged the food convoy to Vakarai which has not received supplies since September.
Brigadier Samarasinghe said the efforts by the ICRC and some INGOs to transport food to Vakarai was thwarted on Wednesday as the LTTE despite their assurance given to the ICRC started firing artillery and mortars towards the Forward Defence Line in Kajuwatta and Mankerni. SLMM Spokesman Thoffinur Omarrsson told the Daily News that they were due to seek a clarification from the LTTE, based on the complaint lodged by the Security Forces.