Stranded Madhu pilgrims take long-trip back to Jaffna

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 November 2006, 02:11 GMT]
About three hundred pilgrims from Jaffna, out of one thousand stranded in Madhu church in Mannar district since August 15, left Trincomalee port Sunday morning by vessel Green Ocean escorted by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) to Kankesanthurai port, sources said.

About one thousand pilgrims from Jaffna were attending Madhu church festivel held on 11 August when the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) closed all entry and exit points to LTTE held areas in Mannar district following the outbreak of fresh fighting between the government troops and LTTE.

The Jaffna pilgrims attending the feast got trapped in Madhu area since the closure of SLA checkpoints.

Two weeks back due to the efforts by the Mannar Government Agent they were taken to government controlled areas in Mannar. Civil authorities made arrangements to shelter them in churches and public buildings.

Three hundred pilgrims were transported from Mannar to Trincomalee Saturday evening by five buses arranged by civil authorities, sources in Mannar said.

The pilgrims spent the night Saturday in Orr's Hill Vivekananda College and boarded the vessel Sunday morning in their final leg of the journey to their home district Jaffna, sources said.


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