|Nearly 800 flee Sri Lanka's war zone|
|Wednesday, 14 January 2009|
COLOMBO (Reuters) -- Nearly 800 civilians have fled Sri Lanka's shrinking war zone in the last day as the army bears down on the last strongholds of separatist Tamil Tigers, the military said on Wednesday.
Troops are marching to the port of Mullaittivu across a small wedge of north-eastern Sri Lanka still held by the Tigers, where aid groups say more than 200,000 people are trapped in an area of no more than 330 square km (127 square miles).
"In the last 24 hours, 796 people have come out of the war zone," military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said.
They have been provided with basic facilities and food, and will either be sent to the army-held Jaffna Peninsula or south to Vavuniya, site of the army's rear headquarters for the war.
Soldiers also captured three rebels and found three decomposed guerrilla bodies, he said. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had no immediate comment. In recent days, the pro-rebel web site www.TamilNet.com has accused the military of shelling civilians.
Nanyakkara said that was not true, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said he had ordered the army to avoid all civilian casualties -- even if it means slowing down an offensive that many expect will end the 25-year war.
(Reporting by Bryson Hull; Editing by David Fox)
|Last Updated ( Friday, 14 August 2009 )|
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