Hostage situation in ‘safe zone’
LTTE actively engaged in preventing civilians’
Responding to international claims that the 48-hour humanitarian
pause was inadequate, the Government said yesterday that what prevails
in the ‘safe zone’ was a hostage situation, which needed strategical
military maneuvers to save trapped civilians and not a normal evacuation
Defence Spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said, the fact was
proven without doubt as the LTTE was actively engaged in preventing the
escape of civilians, during the Government’s unilaterally declared 48
hour ‘humanitarian pause’.
The LTTE also used the opportunity to attack troops in the outskirts
of the ‘safe zone’ using small arms and snipers throughout the day on
Calling this as the world’s biggest rescue mission, Minister
Rambukwella said some well thought out strategies were in place to save
the civilians, by people who knew the ground situation.
“Thus the concerned international parties should fall in line and
support Government efforts to achieve the common goal, which is to
ensure a safe passage for trapped civilians in the ‘safe zone’, forcibly
kept as a human shield by the LTTE,” he added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministers of UK and France issued a joint
statement criticising the use of civilians as a human shield by the LTTE.
According to international media, the two Foreign Ministers had said
the Tigers had clearly been “forcefully preventing civilians from
leaving the safe zone” during the 48-hour ceasefire.