LTTE ‘forcibly recruited’ UN staff =BBC=

Puthumatalan hospital on Monday 16 February
UN says civilians in Vanni, many of whom are not allowed to leave by the LTTE, are facing a serious shortage of food and medicine

The United Nations in Sri Lanka has accused the Tamil Tigers of forcibly recruiting one of its staff members.

It is among many incidents of LTTE forcibly recruiting civilians and children as young as 14, the UN said in a statement.

“The LTTE continues to actively prevent people leaving, and reports indicate that a growing number of people trying to leave have been shot and sometimes killed,” the statement added.

It said fifteen members of the UN staff and 75 of their dependents including children and women are among those prevented leaving by the LTTE.

Civilians killed

Meanwhile, a number of civilians were killed and injured in fighting within the safety zone designated by the government on Sunday, the UN added.

Another 400 sick and wounded were evacuated from Vanni to Trincomalee by the ICRC on Monday

Tamil websites said 134 civilians were killed in air raids on safety zone by Sri Lanka air force.

Sri Lanka military spokesman, Brig Udaya Nanayakkara, denied the accusation.

“The air force does not target safety zone,” he told BBC Sandeshaya.

Urging the LTTE to immediately release their employee and stop all forceful recuritment, the UN also calls on both parties to refrain from fighting in areas of civilian concentration.

The tens of thousands of civilians caught in the conflict are facing a severe shortage of food and medicine, according to the United Nations.

No medicine

“Efforts to bring in more food and medicines have not yet been successful,” the statement said.

It called on the government and the LTTE to find a solution so that the civilians can be spared of further bloodshed.

Meanwhile, Over 400 sick and injured civilians patients were transferred to Trincomalee by the ICRC on Monday, health authorities in the north said.

Doctors are helpless as the makeshift hospital in Pudumatalan has no medicines available, they added.

Authorities confirmed the UN statement saying that there were no medicine supplies for more than three months and.

Health officials said, that six to seven patients die daily due to lack of antibiotics.

Small injuries end up in amputation due to infection they further said.

Source : =BBC=

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