|Welfare of Tamil people furthest from LTTE policies|
|Thursday, 23 October 2008 11:24|
The LTTE, by launching an attack on merchant vessels carrying food and other essential items to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North, has once again demonstrated that the well-being of Tamil people it claims to represent is furthest from their concern.
This morning the LTTE mounted a premeditated attack using suicide craft on two merchant ships, "Ruhuna" and "Nimalawa" in the seas off the Northern coast. This is the second attack targeting a food convoy reaching the Vanni civilians in recent times. On the 16th of this month the LTTE launched an attack targeting a convoy of fifty lorries carrying food and essential items, including medicine plying, under the UN banner. The items had been dispatched to be distributed among the IDPs in Mullaittivu and Kilinochchi districts. The terrorists fired artillery and heavy mortar attacks targeting the convoy.
The Government notes that the LTTE has continuously done everything possible to subvert all relief measures to these people, the most pernicious strategy being that of forcibly deploying them to act as a human shield in the face of advancing security forces, blocking their movement to safe areas wherever possible.
The Government of Sri Lanka has been using air and sea routes as means of transporting essential food items and ferrying civilians. Focusing on the plight of civilians in North, the Government has taken swift measures to dispatch food and essential items as an immediate relief measure. Accordingly, the Government has organised a regular flow of humanitarian supplies to the entire North, ensuring there are no shortages.
Further, the Government is confident that the international community, and especially those who have expressed concerns about the plight of civilians in the Wanni, will be further convinced as to the logical necessity of employing all means necessary to eliminate the terrorist threat and secure the release of people trapped in the open prison that the LTTE has turned the Wanni into. The Government also emphasizes that this act of the LTTE is a crime against humanity and it should put to rest any illusions that anyone may have entertained that the LTTE represents the concerns of civilians. Indeed, it puts into perspective recent concerns that have been expressed regarding the Government's efforts to ensure that essential items are sent to the Wanni.
The Government reiterates the sentiments expressed recently by the President that its primary responsibility is to look after all citizens. The President, on that occasion said, "I carry out this responsibility to the fullest, especially with regard to the people who are temporarily displaced in the North, due to the ongoing military operations to defeat terrorism. There is a wrong impression created in Tamil Nadu that this not being done. This is furthest from the truth."
The Government notes with grave concern that the ships that came under attack are also used by NGOs and private sector suppliers to transport goods. By attacking these ships the LTTE terrorists are trying to disrupt the smooth flow of essential items to Jaffna and thereby create a humanitarian crisis in the region, that would not exist but for its acts of terror.
It is patently clear that the LTTE is trying to get the attention of the international community by these indiscriminate activities and the Government calls on the international community to condemn without reservation such despicable acts that seek to obtain political mileage at the cost of innocent civilians.
The Government remains undeterred by all acts of terrorism and is fully conscious of the objectives of the terrorists. The Government will continue to take all possible measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all civilians in the North.
Director of Government Information