Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Breaking News: UN Staff Trapped in Kilinocchi


From: Shahidul Alam
Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 12:48 AM
Subject:Breaking News: UN Staff Trapped in Kilinocchi
To: Ahamed Bauani


This mail just came in. It sounds desperate. Please circulate and try
and ensure it gets to the right people.
-----------------------------
Subject: !!! URGENT !!!

i am really sorry for what i am going to write here and i know you
will freak out (as i kind of am!!) but this is super urgent. i have
writtent o the contacts you sent me before and to the BBC in Colombo
but the turn of events here is quick and i need you to do all you can
to get the following out to the world quickly.

Shahidul any help media that you can pass this to ASAP is much
appreciated.

I am sending this as im a little desperate but also as i believe this
to be a big story. 10 UN internationals including myself have been
trying to get out of the LTTE held territories since Friday last
week. Due to rapid escalation of the security in the region and
protests outside our offices to leave for the fears of the community
that when we leave there will be an onslaught of the Sri Lankan
army. we now feel that if we do not leave tomorrow Tuesday 16th it
maybe too late and we will be trapped in here until the battle for
Kilinocchi (LTTE capital) is finished.

the below statement was released to the media today by the UN in
Colombo. basically the situation is that it is getting way too close
here now. Both Waring parties have assured our safety in leaving
but the conflict is now very close on the A9 road, the only way out
of here.

we want to get all assurances from both sides that it will be a safe
passage as stated by both parties.

this must be a story for the web site. please put it up there. we
will be leaving Kilinochchi at 10am on tuesday 16th September and
plan to make it to Omanthai (Gov held area) by 11:30 latest. a UN
convoy of Approx 20 vehicles

At present there are multi barrel rocket launcers and artillery
landing just 3 km from our UN compound and Helicopter gun ships were
clearing the A9 road today for LTTE cadre bunkers.

i need to have some of the world watchin this to give pressure on
both sides to respect thier assurances of a safe passage. any media
coverage that you can give will be a great help. below is the
statement.

please do what you can.

dixie

This has been released tonight by the UN in Colombo.

Statement
The UN has received assurances from the LTTE that UN and humanitarian
agency staff remaining in Kilinochchi can leave. We intend moving
those staff in a single convoy at 10am tomorrow Tuesday 16th morning.
We expect that all staff and this convoy will be given safe passage
by the LTTE to the Omanthai crossing. We reiterate that we have been
compelled to temporarily relocate from Kilinochchi because of our
security assessment that the situation has become too dangerous to
remain working from there at this time. Because of our continuing
commitment to and concern for the civilians of the Vanni, senior
staff are in place to mount our humanitarian operation from Vavuniya.

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