Escapee family says Wanni people yearn to flee to South
COLOMBO: A family of five who fled the oppression of the LTTE
in the Wanni wants the Government to clear the North as it did in the
East if they were to enjoy lasting peace.
“We want the Government to clear the North as it did in the East and
establish peace. Only then we will be able to go back to our homes and
lead a secure life,” the family of father, mother and three children
living under the protection of the Navy told the media yesterday.
They said they witnessed on television how the Navy rescued their
people and that is why they decided to travel in a dingy boat risking
They said they got to know that the Navy rescued people travelling by
sea who display a flag. That is why they sneaked around 2.00 a.m. in a
“We posed as fishermen and travelled by boat. My wife and two
daughters (aged 12 and 17) slept on the floor of the boat and my son
(21) and I operated the boat pretending that we are fishermen. We heard
gunshots and thought our lives were over but the Navy rescued us,” the
They fled the Wanni since over the past three months the LTTE had
started storming homes in vehicles and kidnapping children to be used as
“Earlier, they [the LTTE] did it on the roads and in public places
but now they have started raiding homes for the children.
“No one knows what happens to the kidnapped children. There are
thousands of families eagerly waiting to flee to the South,” they
Explaining the hardships they underwent, the couple said their only
son was living in the jungle for the last few months to escape from the
The LTTE has registered all the families with full details and they
know from which families they can get the children. No family can escape
from them due to this registration. The LTTE did the registration first
and some time after they started to abduct the children.
“Some nights our son slept in homes where there were infants. We left
our property which is worth over Rs. 10 million.
We are not happy because we always remember our relatives and loved
ones who have been trapped in the Vanni. They are eagerly waiting to
flee to the South, they added.
Explaining the situation in LTTE held areas they said that the LTTE
collects tax from shops and similar establishments. Oil is very
expensive. The LTTE holds public meetings and poisons the Tamil
community against the Sinhalese and the Government.
Earlier, the people willingly took part in these meetings but
nowadays they are not attending such meetings and the LTTE sends memos
continuously to the families who do not attend these meetings.
Explaining their future plans they said that their relatives live in
two European countries and the suburbs of Colombo.
They want to stay with their local relatives for some time and go
abroad to their relations. The father who is 43 was employed in England
from 1999 to 2003.
The mother (36) is a housewife. The son has completed his O/L and the
second daughter was in Grade 9.
The eldest daughter was doing her A/Ls.
The daughters of the family said that all the school children want to
come to the South.
According to this family, World Vision, SLRC, ICRC and UNICEF are
working in the LTTE held areas. According to the SLN, this is the first
time that Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have come to the South by
taking the Eastern sea route.
Earlier, they always used the Western sea of the country to flee from
LTTE held areas.