http://www.bbcsinhala.com

28 January, 2009 - Published 17:17 GMT

'LTTE prevented' evacuating wounded

UN Says that they will attempt to evacuate a convoy of critically Injured From Puthukkudiyiruppuri to Vavunia.

On Tuesday, the government said the covoy of over two hundred patients were stopped by the Tamil Tigers.

The United Nations in Sri Lanka says that it will attempt for the second time in three days to help evacuate by convoy hundreds of critically wounded civilians including at least 50 seriously injured children.

The UN says the convoy has been trapped for days in Puthukkudiyiruppu, across the lines of confrontation in Tamil Tiger-controlled territory.

The UN says that if permission is granted by the LTTE, and if a lull in fighting permits, the convoy will cross the frontline at midday Thursday.

The injured will then be transported to Ministry of Health hospitals in Vavuniya that can cope with their wounds

Tigers denied permission

On Tuesday, military authorities said that sixteen ambulances, seven trucks and one other vehicle that had reached the LTTE roadblock, were denied permission to proceed by the Tamil Tigers.

A spokesman for the International Red Cross [ICRC] also told the BBC, that ongoing fighting had obstructed the relief efforts in the area.

According to military authorities, they had organised "twelve ambulances and five buses to pick the sick for further passage to Vavunia hospital after ICRC and UN officials brought them to the cleared areas on their vehicles between 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon on Tuesday".

Awaited in Puthukkuiyiruppu

"Three doctors, twelve nurses and eight attendants on those vehicles, sent from Vavunia awaited at the Puthukkuiyiruppu front line, held by the troops expecting to receive those patients, but to no avail", Sri Lanka Army official website said on Tuesday.

Military statement also said that the ICRC and UN officials contacting military authorities have reported that those patients on sixteen ambulances, seven World Food Programme (WFP) trucks and another vehicle were being held, detained and prevented from entering cleared areas by gun-carrying LTTE men who have had heated arguments with ICRC and UN officials over non-release.