The Navy used SLNS Shakthi to ferry 795
civilians from KKS to Trincomalee. The Chinese-built vessel,
believed to be the Navy’s largest landing craft, acquired in
December 1995, reached Trincomalee Sunday afternoon. The navy
deployed several Fast Attack Craft (FACs) to protect the slow
The movement took place against the backdrop of
LTTE efforts to re-open the A9 Kandy-Jaffna overland route.
The LTTE said that they would cooperate with the
ICRC for civilian supplies and travel arrangement through the A9
route. The Tigers earlier said they would not support air and
sea routes for civilian travel.
A senior Military official said that over a
dozen buses were used to transport people to Colombo, Kandy and
Fighting effectively cut access by road to and
from the Jaffna peninsula, leaving thousands of people trapped
and running short of vital supplies. The Nordic truce monitoring
mission said that the LTTE initiated the latest bout of fighting
on August 11.
Pro-LTTE TamilNet erroneously identified SLNS
Shakthi as Lanka Muditha, a civilian vessel.
The Military emphasized that the amphibious
assault ship Shakthi did not sail under ICRC flag. Although the
ICRC facilitated an earlier civilian ship movement it did not
get involved this time. The Island learns that the LTTE
vehemently opposed such movements. The LTTE wants the immediate
re-opening of the Muhamalai entry and exit point.
The military went ahead with Saturday’s movement
despite the severe threat. The unprecedented movement
(deployment of a landing craft to ferry civilians) took place
against the backdrop the suspension of Naval monitoring by the
Nordic truce monitoring mission on May 11. (SF)