|Air force drops leaflets over safe zones in Mullaitivu|
|Friday, 23 January 2009|
By Jamila Najmuddin
The air force has commenced dropping leaflets over Mullaitivu giving civilians detailed information about the new “safe zone” for them to flee to government areas.
Meanwhile the ICRC has also agreed to make possible efforts to enlighten the entrapped civilians in the Wanni of the newly expanded safe zone declared in the Mullaitivu district since Wednesday on a request made by the security forces.
A formal discussion was held between the ICRC Vavuniya Head, Ms. Valerie Petitipierre and the Wanni Security Forces Commander, Major General Jagath Jayasuriya on Wednesday, emphasising the need for stringent action to deny the LTTE the use of these zones to mount attacks at troops.
The LTTE's use of innocent civilians as human shields should also be deplored from all quarters, the Major General was quoted as saying at the meeting whilst requesting the ICRC official to provide a detailed report of the inmates at the Puthukudiyirippu general hospital, admitted due to indiscriminate terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry yesterday said that in its attempt to trigger a civilian crisis in the Wanni, LTTE terrorists have reportedly drawn artillery batteries, heavy mortars and satellite bases inside civilian settlements and makeshift camps which were earlier declared as no-fire zones, the military said citing civilian and ground sources.
“The terrorists are using the thousands entrapped as cannon fodder in its attempt to stall the multi-frontal military advance, now closing in on LTTE's remaining hiding areas at Visuamadu, Puthukudiyirippu and Mullaitivu,” Defence Observers were quoted on the Defence Ministry website as stating.
The Defence Ministry further said that on Tuesday, around 75,000 people who were lined up to enter the liberated areas at Kilinochchi were surrounded and beaten by an LTTE led mob. At least 10 people were killed when LTTE terrorists opened indiscriminate fire at the civilians, escapees told security force officials at Kilinochchi, the Defence Ministry said.
“One of the medical students was tortured and exhibited around the populated areas and made to understand the fate of escapees in the area. Few managed to escape while the rest were dragged towards LTTE torture camps believed to be located at Visuamadu and Puthukudiryirippu,” the Defence Ministry added.
Meanwhile Defence Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella at a press briefing yesterday morning denied that there were over 300,000 civilians in the north, alleging that such figures were released by officials who were under threat by the LTTE.
Minister Rambukwella said that the GA’s and hospital authorities in LTTE controlled areas who had quoted a high civilian figure to the media would have done so under pressure and the threat by the LTTE who were desperately trying to catch international attention to stop the war.
“The LTTE had pressurised these people to release high figures to draw international assistance and get more supplies. When the army liberated Kilinochchi we saw no signs of civilians having lived in that area as many had moved out or had crossed into government controlled areas.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 14 August 2009 )|
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