|Civilians will surge into safe zone|
|Monday, 02 February 2009|
- Defence Secretary
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday that civilians trapped in LTTE controlled areas amidst intense fighting will soon surge into the safe zone.
“We have designated a safe area for them to be in,” he told LAKBIMANEWS yesterday. “Wait and see what will happen in another five days. As troops move closer, civilians won’t wait there to die. They know exactly what is happening.”
The defence secretary insisted that troops were not bombing the safe zone. He also said the military was firing artillery shells at a different front and not around the area where civilians were now gathered.
“We have difficulties in operational planning and we are facing restrictions in the use of indirect fire, that is artillery and air attacks, in areas with civilians,” he admitted. “Otherwise, we could have bombed this area and walked into the rest within one day. Now, we have to work harder, using only direct ground fire. It’s more risky and we are prone to get more casualties from our side. Despite those difficulties, we are moving one kilometre daily in some areas and more than that in others.”Rajapaksa said the military understood the terrain and had a ground plan. “We don’t need to bomb civilians,” he insisted. “The LTTE cannot survive in a small square. We are gradually closing in on them and it won’t matter afterwards whether they are civilians or Tigers. We can physically search them. “He also said that, as the military closed in, the Tigers will not be able to score with artillery fire. “There’s a minimum range in artillery,” he explained “When we get closer and closer, their artillery guns are useless.”
|Last Updated ( Friday, 09 October 2009 )|
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