We closed Mavil Aru to protest against EU ban - LTTE
by Wijitha Nakkawita and Norman Palihawadana

The LTTE yesterday defended their closure of the Mavil Arau anicut saying they had done so to show their disapproval of the ban imposed on them by the European Union.

"We closed the Mavil Aru anicut to show our disapproval of the European Union ban," Illanchelian, described as the new LTTE spokesman, said when contacted by The Island yesterday (30).

When asked about the damage caused to the LTTE by Sri Lanka Air Force and Army after the closure of the irrigation channel, he said eight LTTE cadres in the east had died in the attacks but refused to give any more details.

Following repeated air strikes on LTTE positions surrounding Mavil Aru anicut, the Government sent in ground troops to smash the blockade by the terrorists.

Troops were advancing, but slowly as their path was littered with landmines, military sources said.

The canal remained closed for the tenth day, despite protests by farmers of the area. About 15,000 families, who depend on the water from the canal are deprived of even water for domestic use, while 30,000 acres of paddy in the area are also threatened with destruction, official sources in the district said.

The UNP yesterday condemned the closure of the anicut.

They accused the LTTE of committing a war crime and said the prevention of water supply to civilians was a violation of the Geneva Convention.

The pro-LTTE website ‘TamilNet’ yesterday claimed the Sri Lanka Air Force was bombing civilian targets in Eichalampattu. It said "A crucial discussion over the Mavil Aru water crisis with SLMM and villagers ended abruptly", but omitted saying the LTTE had closed the anicut depriving a large number of people of water.


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