Filipino aid worker for US charity in Sri Lanka shot

June 14, 2007 (AFP) – A Filipino aid worker has been shot and wounded in northeastern Sri Lanka, a hospital spokeswoman said Thursday. Antonio Villeomour, of the US charity Mercy Corps, was being treated at Colombo’s National Hospital, spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa said.

“He is conscious and not in a critical condition,” she told AFP.

Villeomour was shot as he strolled along the beach in front of his hotel at Trincomalee, 260 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of the capital, on Wednesday night. The area is usually heavily guarded by the Sri Lankan navy.

Two local Red Cross aid workers were abducted and shot dead earlier this month and 17 Sri Lankan employees of the French charity Action Against Hunger, ACF, were killed in the district in August.

The region has seen heavy fighting between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in recent months.

More than 5,000 people have died since the conflict escalated in December 2005. Over 60,000 people have died since the Tamil Tigers launched a campaign for a separatist state for minority Tamils in 1972.