2ND LEAD (UPDATE, ADDS BACKGROUND)

SLMM monitors leave Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 August 2006, 06:36 GMT]
Monitors of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) posted in the Trincomalee district left for Colombo Thursday morning as the ground situation was not conducive for further monitoring. Trincomalee SLMM office located along the Inner Harbour Road in the east port town was closed down Wednesday and all six monitors led by SLMM Head of Trincomalee District Office (DO) Ove Janssen, left by road to Colombo, SLMM sources said.

"Due to the unstable situation, SLMM Head of Mission decided to implement the first phase of SLMM Security Plan restricting movements," Major General Ulf Henricsson, Head of Mission (HoM) SLMM, said last week.

"We are constantly evaluating the developments and are prepared to evacuate monitors away from the conflict areas," he said.

"Measures have also been taken to improve the security at SLMM premises by constructing shelters. Due to the limitations for SLMM to perform its mandated tasks and the deteriorating security situations it is possible that all SLMM monitors will be withdrawn to Colombo next week before the possibilities to travel are restricted even further."

SLMM monitors in Trincomalee had been staying in a hotel located at Nilaveli, about sixteen km off north of Trincomalee on Trincomalee-Pulmoddai road.

SLMM monitors had taken the decision to close down the Trincomalee office and to leave for Colombo following an attack on Sri Lanka Navy sentry at the Pillaikulam Bridge junction at the entrance to Sampaltivu village, about 7 km north of Trincomalee town, around 10.30 p.m., Wednesday, sources said.

The SLN sentry point is located between Nilaveli and Trincomalee town. SLMM monitors staying in a hotel in Nilaveli area had to pass through this SLN sentry point to report to the SLMM office in Trincomalee town, sources said.

SLMM District Offices (DO) are operated in the six district-capitals, Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara in the NorthEast.

Each District has established a Local Monitoring Committee. The committee consists of five members, two appointed by GOSL, two by the LTTE and one SLMM monitor, the chairman.

The mission also operated six Points of Contact (POC) in Delft, Point Pedro, Silavatturai, Muthur, Killinochchi, Valaichchenai and Akkaraipattu.

Earlier, the SLMM Naval Monitoring Teams in Jaffna and Trincomalee were forced to temporarily suspend their monitoring and patrol as the parties engaged in hostile acts in the sea following an unresolved sea-dispute between the parties on Sea Tiger vessel movement.

SLMM Headquarters is located in Colombo and it maintains a Liaison Office to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Kilinochchi.

 

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