Tigers attack fleeing civilians
** Mass exodus from Mullaitivu
** Nearly 6000 civilians cross over on a single day
As the LTTE domination in the North is shrinking into a mere 96
square km, over 5,593 civilians, who were kept as hostages by the LTTE
terrorists have crossed over to liberated areas from the Suthandrapuram
and Puthukudiyirippu in Mullaitivu amidst heavy beating and shooting by
the LTTE, during the last 48 hours.
This is the highest number of displaced people crossed in a single
day over to the liberated areas during the current military operation to
liberate Vanni. They have come to Dharmapuram and Visuamadu areas where
they have been directed to the welfare centres in Vavuniya. Last
Thursday over 1,637 civilians had fled the LTTE held areas in Mullaitivu
and sought protection in the areas controlled by the 57 and 58
Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya told the
`Sunday Observer’ that the Army had provided the necessary facilities as
soon as they came over to the liberated areas. “The Army and the GA’s
office are ready to facilitate these civilians and their security and
welfare is well guaranteed”, he said.
According to the SF Commander, the civilians will be registered in
Kilinochchi before they were handed over to the Vavuniya GA’s office.
“There are three welfare centres in Vavuniya and the GA will supply all
IDP requirements”, he said adding that the patients, depending on their
wounds and sickness, will be immediately transferred to the Vavuniya
The 48-hour timeframe declared by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa for
the LTTE to free the civilians, last week, was abused by them to attack
the troops. They had installed the mortar and artillery gun positions
amidst the civilians who had flocked into the State declared no fire
“When the terrorists were attacking taking cover behind the
civilians, the troops of the 58 division which are very close to the
Suthandrapuram, tried their best not to retaliate. The civilians are
living in Suthandrapuram, which is in the North East of Visuamadu and
also in the no fire zone. The troops got much closer to the civilians
who were heavily guarded by the LTTE, but did not fire at the terrorists
as they knew the civilians would cross over from there”, the GOC of the
58 division Brig. Shavendra Silva said.
He said that when his troops got much closer to the civilians the
IDPs started crossing into liberated areas as the distance is much less.
“The LTTE could not stop civilians coming to us. Some civilians said
that the Tigers had fired at them and some were subjected to heavy
Brig. Shavendra Silva further said that IDPs in small numbers crossed
over to liberated areas during the two-day period declared by the
government to release the civilians but when the military surrounded
their areas the number of civilians crossing into liberated areas went
up. Meanwhile, informed sources revealed that still the LTTE is keeping
with it a large number of civilians as a human shield.
The sources said that a group of over 2,500 civilians who came to
cross over to the liberated areas were dispersed by the LTTE by shooting
and assaulting them with iron bars and wooden poles.
“A group of 50 Tigers armed with weapons and iron bars stopped the
civilians, carrying infants, and started firing at them. As the
civilians tried to resist their orders, the Tigers had started beating
There is no one to look after the injured people, especially those
who are with gun shot injuries”, they lamented.
The informed sources said that though the crowd was dispersed still
thousands of people were waiting to cross. They said that 10 to 15
priests were also staying with them.
From the beginning of the Vanni Operation, over 13,562 civilians have
crossed over to the liberated areas upto now.