TAMILNET reports that the Sri Lankan army is massacring Tamil civilians in heavy fighting in the North of the island.
Initial reports, emerging from Udaiyaarkaddu hospital as the ICRC (Red Cross) representatives came out of their bunkers and started helping the medical authorities, said that many dead bodies of civilians not buried so far have become decomposed beyond identification.
Three shells exploded near the hospital as late as 1:40pm on Tuesday. There have been two fresh killings in artillery fire and at least eight wounded were brought in from Tuesday’s shelling.
There has been no sign of additional medical help coming into the region, the officials said.
Pockets of overcrowded civilian population have been separated without communication for many hours and there are many people searching for their family members and relatives.
Asked about the fighting, the medical staff said they had heard distant gunfire.
The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) was using maximum artillery fire-power even when the resistance by the Tigers was very low, they said.
The SLA was firing artillery, completely unprovoked, into the ‘safety zone’ where civilians were being directed to by the Sri Lankan army.
The Government Agent of Mullaiththeevu District, Imelda Sugumar, when contacted by TamilNet on Monday night, said she was told by the authorities to instruct all of the civilians to either move into the ‘safety zone’ or get out of the war zone.
Even the staff of Puthukkudyiruppu hospital, the only hospital functioning in its original building, were ordered to go inside the ‘safety zone’ before the end of Tuesday.
Meanwhile, TRO officials who were coordinating their volunteers who were engaged in helping the civilians, said they had helped a number to bury their dead with whatever identification that was available with the corpses, covering the documentation as much as possible with plastic bags. The TRO volunteers have also provided first aid to a number of civilian victims.
As the only NGO active among the people, the TRO has also been struggling to deliver bread and cooked food to the civilians with their limited facilities, they said.
l The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said his government condemned the ongoing war in Sri Lanka which has caused ‘unacceptable sufferings to the civilians,’ in the country.
Meanwhile, International Development Minister Erik Solheim demanded that ‘The sick and the wounded must be given access for treatment and ambulances must be able to travel unhindered, in and out of the conflict area.’
He added: ‘I am deeply distressed to learn the situation of the civilians who are trapped inside the conflict area in the North of Sri Lanka.’
He called on all efforts to be focused on stopping the sufferings of the civilians.