No let up in air strikes Defence Spokesman
COLOMBO: The Government yesterday vehemently denied
allegations made by certain parties that the Air Force had restricted
air attacks in the North and the Wanni fearing civilian casualties,
Government Defence Affairs Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.
"Civilians are our prime concern in the ground battles and the
ongoing humanitarian operation in the North and the Wanni." the minister
Addressing at the MCNS yesterday, Minister Rambukwella said there
were allegations against the Air Force that the air raids were curtailed
due to the civilian casualties during air sorties in the North and the
"It is baseless, when we are taking a target in an aerial attack the
welfare of civilians are always taken into consideration. There are
instances that even when the target was confirmed the Air Force refrains
from the air attacks due to the civilian presence in the vicinity", he
Minister Rambukwella noted that safeguarding civilians and providing
the needs of the war affected people are always considered by the
Government and the Security Forces.
"The A-32 route extending 80km from Mannar to Pooneryn will be opened
within a couple of days as the Security Forces are control 77km of the
A-32 route. This will open a passage for the movement of civilians and
help the Security Forces operation to reach the North", Minister
Meanwhile, Minister Rambukwella called the LTTE as a ruthless
terrorist out-fit for recruiting school teachers who were paid by the
Government as their cadres.
"It was interesting to observe the reactions of the local and
International community on the LTTE atrocities regarding the three LTTE
female cadres including a school teacher who surrendered to the Forces
and disclosed their horrifying stories in the uncleared areas", he
Minister Rambukwella pointed out that the LTTE are using school
teachers and clerks attached to several Government departments and
institutions as well as NGO's and INGO aid workers living in the
uncleared areas to fight against the Security Forces.