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Sri Lanka: Captured soldiers released under ICRC auspices

02-12-1999 News Release 99/48

On 27 November the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) released seven Sri Lankan army soldiers under the auspices of the ICRC. The soldiers were handed over to the Sri Lankan military authorities by ICRC delegates in Vavuniya the same day. 

Because of this month's escalation in clashes between the LTTE and government armed forces in the northern Vanni region of the island and the subsequent closing of land routes, the delegates had to escort the soldiers in an eight-hour journey from the Vanni to the west coast, then south by fishing boat to Mannar, and finally overland to Vavuniya.

The ICRC has been present in Sri Lanka since 1989, and currently has 50 expatriate staff and 300 Sri Lankan employees working out of its delegation in Colombo and eleven other offices in the north and east of the country.