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Children used for LTTE human shield

Ground troops determined to liberate Vakarai civilians

VAKARAI: The LTTE is holding children and elders at two schools housing IDPs using them as a human shield to fire at the Security Forces in uncleared Vakarai area.

"These civilians are being forcibly held by the LTTE cadres at the Vikneshwaran Vidyalayam and Tamil Maha Vidyalayam so that they would not flee and keep their human shield intact," spokesman for the Media Centre for National Security Major Upali Rajapaksa told the Daily News.

There was sporadic artillery fire by the LTTE on Security Forces in Vakarai yesterday too though the intensity has died down, Major Rajapaksa said, adding that some of the artillery shells had fallen on the Forward Defence Lines (FDL) while others fell into villages in cleared areas.

Major Rajapaksa said LTTE cadres have their gun positions close to the schools. "The Security Forces are in a difficult position to retaliate since the LTTE is using civilians including children as a human shield," he added.

The Government requested the SLMM and ICRC to notify the LTTE to adhere to the following: move civilians away from their gun positions or move their guns away from the civilians. But there is no response from the LTTE.

"The Security Forces had to deploy ground Forces to retaliate against sporadic artillery attacks. If we use artillery or MBRLs to retaliate there will be a major human disaster. Many of those civilians kept as a human shield might be killed.

So we cannot retaliate. Therefore, we had to use ground forces to counter LTTE artillery attacks and neutralise their position," Major Rajapaksa said .

"We have to rescue the civilians from the clutches of the LTTE cadres since they are in a most dangerous situation," he added.

He said the entire area was heavily mined and booby trapped and these have to be cleaned in order to move forward.

Ground Forces successfully countered the LTTE attacks destroying two Tiger gun positions in Kandimurakulam and Parichankerni, causing heavy casualties to Tiger cadres.

He said that since the fighting began on Wednesday morning with the attack on a school in Kallaru over 70 LTTE cadres were killed and a large number suffered injuries. Around 40 LTTE cadres were killed in North Vakarai and more than 30 LTTE cadres were killed in south and west Vakarai. Meanwhile 24 Security Forces personnel were also killed and 69 injured in the attack.

The ICRC was given permission to go by boat and evacuate 12 civilian casualties yesterday morning.

However, the SLMM is yet to play an active role in impartial monitoring, he added. Nearly 3,210 civilians were displaced and moved to seven IDP centres in Kantale due to heavy artillery attacks by the LTTE, he added.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Sri Lanka

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