Monday, January 28, 2008

Video: World Food Programme Food Packs Meant for LTTE ?

A consignment of ready-to-use high protein biscuits belonging to the World Food Programme bound for Vavunia was apprehended by the Police in Medawachchiya on Saturday (26), the Media Center for National Security reports. The stock of 39,800 Kilograms contained "BP-100 Compact Therapeutical" which has a shelf life of 4 years, concealed in 3 layer packs. The driver of the truck transporting the batch when questioned by police said that these were being transported to the WFP's Vavuniya office with the approval of the Ministry of Health.

However, a senior official of the Ministry of Health told that the Ministry is not involved with the WFP or with any other organization in the transportation of biscuits or any other similar items.

Police sources from Medawachchiya said that initial investigations have revealed that High Protein Biscuits of this kind are used by combatants as rations, pointing out that even the security forces use similar biscuits, although with a different brand name.

Speaking to the Government official news web, an officer of the WFP- Sri Lanka branch said that Country Director has called for an immediate discussion with the WFP staff with regard to the incident, treating the matter very seriously.

The ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) is presently available in two forms: a cookie (BP100) and as a paste that comes in a sachet. The nutritional qualities of the RUTFs are similar to those of the therapeutic milk and the high concentration of nutrients in a small volume. RUTFs are typically distributed among children suffering from or prone to malnutrition and studies have revealed that typically children prefer the paste to the biscuit. In this instance it is the biscuit and not the sachet that was being transported.

The WFP maintains sub-offices or branches in all parts of Sri Lanka including several in conflict-ridden areas such as Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Mulaitivu, Batticaloa and Ampara

The truck carrying the items is belonging to the "Trico" Terminal Private Limited company.

Medawachchiya Police are conducting investigations.

Courtesy: Government Information Department