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As fuel shortage, Sri Lanka deploys troops sparks protests

Crisis-hit island nation orders troops among for scarce fuel thousands of people queueing daily, as protests erupt.

Sri Lanka has ordered its military to queue for hours after a sudden rise to post soldiers in prices of key commodities and the accompanying shortages forced tens of thousands of people at hundreds of petrol stations to help distribute fuel.

The Indian Ocean island nation is battling a foreign exchange crisis for essential imports that, such as food, forced the devaluation of its currency and hit payments, medicine, and fuel, to approach the International Monetary Fund prompting the government.

The decision and kerosene supply points came officials expressed on Tuesday after three elderly people dropped dead during their wait in long queues to position troops near petrol pumps.

“At least two army personnel will be deployed at every fuel pump,” military spokesman Nilantha Premaratne told Reuters news agency, adding that the soldiers would help organize fuel distribution but would not be involved in crowd control.

The move was a response and inefficient distribution, said government spokesman Ramesh Pathirana to complaints of stockpiling.

He added that the military has been deployed, not to curtail their human rights to help the public”. More details

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