Envoys of US & UN urge Sri Lanka's security forces to understand people's frustration; not to use excessive force

In an unusual move, the envoys of the United States and the United Nations here on Sunday urged Sri Lankas security forces to understand the frustration of citizens spending hours in long lines for essential commodities, and emphasised the need to quickly probe any excessive use of force against the public.The island nation, home to around 22 million, is currently facing its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years.


PTI | Colombo | Updated: 19-06-2022 22:53 IST | Created: 19-06-2022 22:53 IST
Envoys of US & UN urge Sri Lanka's security forces to understand people's frustration; not to use excessive force
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  • Sri Lanka

In an unusual move, the envoys of the United States and the United Nations here on Sunday urged Sri Lanka's security forces to understand the frustration of citizens spending hours in long lines for essential commodities, and emphasised the need to quickly probe any excessive use of force against the public.

The island nation, home to around 22 million, is currently facing its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years. Sri Lanka's economy is experiencing extreme fuel shortages, soaring food prices and a lack of medicines.

The appeal from the two envoys came a day after a clash between people and army personnel in a queue for fuel in Vishvamadu, Mullaitivu. According to Sri Lankan media reports, the clash occurred when soldiers took custody of a man who obstructed an army officer from doing his duties, near an army checkpoint adjacent to the filling station.

Subsequently, a group of people who had gathered near the army checkpoint demanding the release of the suspect had obstructed the duties of Army officers and assaulted them with glass bottles.

''As petrol lines & power cuts increase, tensions are naturally rising too. But boiling over will not address SL’s urgent needs,'' US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung tweeted on Sunday.

''I urge authorities to exercise restraint under these difficult circumstances. Any excessive use of force should be quickly investigated,'' she wrote.

Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Colombo, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy also tweeted, urging Sri Lankan security forces to understand the frustration of the people hit by the economic crisis.

''Troubled by images of violence in petrol queues, involving police & army. I urge security services to understand the frustration of citizens spending hours in long lines, & to exercise restraint in the use of force. I call on authorities to investigate any excessive use of force,'' she wrote.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Army has said that Saturday's incident at a fuel station in Vishwamadu was a deliberate attempt by some suspicious elements to sabotage the goodwill and the cooperation that prevail between members of the security forces and the general public.

Seven people, including three Army personnel were injured in the incident, police said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera on Sunday requested people not to queue up for petrol next three-four days.

He told a news conference that the next petrol shipment was due on June 23 and diesel shipment was due on June 24.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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