Sri Lankan Army Steps Up Its Attacks On Tamil Civilians

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The continuing protest outside parliament demanding that the Brown government acts to halt the Sri Lankan army shelling of Tamil areas in northern Sri Lanka, which has already killed and wounded many thousands of people
The continuing protest outside parliament demanding that the Brown government acts to halt the Sri Lankan army shelling of Tamil areas in northern Sri Lanka, which has already killed and wounded many thousands of people

TAMILNET reports that yesterday, at 6.50am the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) intensified its offensive aimed at dividing the so-called Safety Zone into two.

With fire support provided by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopter gunships are attempting to break the defensive lines of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the fourth day.

The SLA and the SLAF were deploying maximum fire-power in the fighting.

SLAF bombers then began attacking the lines at 7.40am.

Civilian settlements in Mu’l’li-vaaykkaal were being targeted by long-range artillery and cannons.

The civilian zone has been turned into a war zone by the indiscriminate barrage and firing by the SLA that has been continuously deploying artillery, heavy mortars, 40mm cannons, Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) launchers and 50 calibre machine guns to attack the civilian areas.

Civilians in Mu’l’li-vaaykkaal area remain in underground bunkers for the second day running. There are civilian casualties but details are yet to emerge.

Last Wednesday Sri Lanka Army (SLA) units were continuously engaged in an offensive push, targeting the Iraddai-vaaykkaal junction from Puthukkudiyiruppu (PTK) Mullaiththeevu road, amidst heavy resistance by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

There was very stiff fighting near Iraddai-vaaykkaal junction, close to the entrance of the so-called Safety Zone.

Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers attacked the area at least six times in the morning and helicopter gunships were seen firing rockets in the evening as Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) shells that hit Mu’l’li-vaaykkaal rocked the safety zone.

As dead civilians were buried where they were attacked, only 83 wounded civilians managed to reach the hospital at Puthumaaththa’lan up to 5.00pm, according to medical sources.

They had also reported earlier that twelve wounded patients had died before reaching hospital.

The hospital managed to send ambulances to Mu’l’livaaykkaal when the shelling ceased. Out of 83 taken to the hospital, six died after admission, according to the medical authorities around 5.00pm.

Meanwhile, a two-year-old baby girl, Sivagnanamoorthy Prasitha, suffering from diarrhoea died at the hospital on Wednesday.

Many children have been affected by malnutrition and diarrhoea. The situation was deteriorating as humanitarian supplies were not being brought according to the requirements, medical sources said.

The children’s ward at the hospital was full of wounded and sick.

The doctors were not able to save the life of a two and a half month old baby, Sakila, admitted with severe malnutrition. The baby died on Tuesday.

Also, four post-operative patients died in the ward.

An International Committee of the Red Cross ship to transport the wounded was expected yesterday.

Earlier on Tuesday night the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) launched a full scale ground offensive attempting to break the last earth mound of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) situated close to the safety zone on Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullaiththeevu Road.

The TamilNet correspondent in Vanni reported on Wednesday in the early hours that very heavy fighting was taking place.

While the Co-Chairs countries have asked for the extension of the ceasefire, Colombo’s defiance and ferocious attacks on the civilian safety zone are widely seen by political observers as efforts to fulfil the agenda of India, which is to crush the Tamil Tigers.

Heavy exchanges of rocket and gunfire was reported as the fighting intensified in the early hours of Wednesday. Civilians inside the safety zone near the land route gateway were forced to remain inside the bunkers.

The fighting seemed to have ceased for two hours from 5.30am when the Tigers had pushed back the SLA from the defence line.

However, at 7.30am, the SLA launched a fierce attack with the support of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) and heavy mortar barrage. 16 bombs were dropped by the SLAF around 7.30am.

There are civilian casualties caused by indiscriminate bombardment by the SLA and the SLAF. However, exact figures are not available.

Stiff fighting was still going on as of 7.50am last Wednesday.

As bullets fired by the SLA were whizzing over him, a TamilNet correspondent reported from the safety zone, warning that a mass human tragedy will unfold if the SLA advances its offensive push into the safety zone as it seems it is aiming o divide and capture a part of the so-called safety zone.

• HUNGER STRIKE CONTINUES

THREE hundred people were yesterday taking part in the continuous protest at Parliament Square in support of Tamil hunger striker Parameswaran Subramaniyan.

The protest is demanding an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to the genocide against the Tamil people by the Rajapakse regime in Sri Lanka.

Student Varuniya said: ‘I’m here to get justice for my people in Sri Lanka. They’re getting killed at around 100 per day.

‘The Sri Lankan government has stepped up the bombing because they’re scared of foreign governments getting involved as a result of the higher media profile.

‘But we still need more awareness – even though we’ve been protesting for years. We want a permanent ceasefire NOW, not a 48-hour ceasefire scam which they simply use as a cover to kill more people!’

Chitra, a doctor, was eager to put forward her opinions: ‘I think Britain has a duty to bring up a permanent ceasefire and make a referendum (in Sri Lanka) and bring up a permanent solution to the war.

‘When the British came into Sri Lanka there were two separate kingdoms. The British made them into one for their own administrative convenience.

‘So we urge the British government to bring up the same thing: a permanent ceasefire and a permanent solution – one nation, Tamil Eelam for the Tamil people.’

Archana, a student at Kings College, told News Line: ‘As you can see it’s a rainy day and people are still coming. They’re not giving up.

‘I left the house at 7am this morning and arrived at 8am and I was surprised by the size of the crowd!’

Her friend Thadcha agreed: ‘We’ve been here for eleven days. Last week I slept over and in the morning there were half the number of people there are now.’

Archana took over: ‘So the weather makes no difference: people are supporting the picket in greater numbers. But people are really worried about the hunger striker.’

Thadcha continued: ‘Para is doing OK but he is not taking as much water as he should be.’

Student Raji added: ‘I think what the international community have got to realise is that he’s not going to give up until the British government intervenes and implements a permanent ceasefire in Sri Lanka and takes responsibility as the former colonial power.’