Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: third ICRC staff member killed in conflict area

Geneva/Colombo (ICRC) - A staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was killed by shrapnel today near Mullivaikal, in the coastal area held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

His mother died in the same incident, which occurred around noon. This is the third time in just over two months that an ICRC employee has been killed inside the conflict zone.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of the deaths of our friend and colleague Sivakurunathan Majuran and of his mother, and extend our heartfelt condolences to their family and friends," said Paul Castella, the ICRC's head of delegation in Colombo. "This latest tragic incident shows how dangerous it is for everyone in the area."

Mr Majuran was 31 years old. He began working for the ICRC in October 2005 as a member of the water and habitat team. He was married and the father of a five-year-old child. His wife and child are still in the conflict zone; their fate is currently unknown.

Two other ICRC water technicians, Vadivel Vijayakumar and Sinnathurai Kugathasan, who had been involved in ICRC evacuations of sick and wounded people from the conflict area, were killed by shrapnel on 4 March and on 8 April, respectively.

The ICRC is striving to continue to bring food to people trapped in the conflict zone and to evacuate patients. However, intense and uninterrupted fighting prevented it from carrying out these life-saving activities yesterday and today, 12 and 13 May. A new attempt will be made tomorrow.

For further information, please contact:

Sarasi Wijeratne, ICRC Colombo, tel: +94 11 250 33 46 or +94 77 315 88 44
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 58 or +41 79 217 32 24