Herding people by terror: Intense shelling, dead bodies on roadside in Vanni
[TamilNet, Friday, 13 February 2009, 13:50 GMT]
More than 150 civilians were feared killed Thursday alone and around 90 in the preceding two days in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) shelling in Mullaiththeevu district. Most of the casualties are reported along the sides of two roads through which the civilians are forced to flee in yet another mass exodus to a new 'safety zone' unilaterally announced by Colombo. Dead bodies were lying along the roadside from Theavipuram to Puthukkudiyiruppu and the fleeing civilians were forced to bury their dead along the roadside amid intense shelling, initial reports from Vanni said. The new 'safety zone' declared by Colombo is nothing but an assembling ground to herd 300,000 civilians in a small stretch of land along the lagoon and the sea coast, north of Mullaiththeevu.
Weeping mothers, who lost their loved ones
Hundreds fo the wounded were struggling for their lives. Many of the wounded have been abandoned after first-aid as they could not be transported.
The SLA was deliberately shelling the fleeing civilians as Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) surveillance aircraft was circling over the region, providing coordinates for the SLA to direct artillery shelling on the fleeing civilians, IDP activists in Ira'naippaalai told TamilNet.
Thousands of shells were fired. All the vehicles of the entire Vanni region were queued through the narrow roads, unable to move, as shelling continued throughout the night. Even those who were fleeing in motorbikes said it took around two hours pass 2 km. No one was able to gather details of the casualties till Friday morning.
There are many civilians still unable to move from Chuthanthirapuram and other areas as they were forced stay inside the bunkers due to the intense shelling.
Many civilians were killed in Theavipuram.
The civilians were fleeing after learning through radio news broadcasts that a new area along the coast had been demarcated as 'safety zone'. However, there was no break in the artillery barrage that targeted the civilians as they were fleeing.
On Wednesday, more than 60 people were killed. Casulaties were low only on Tuesday when around 30 civilians were killed. TamilNet correspondent witnessed Wednesday the death of a number of civilians, including children, by artillery shelling where he was staying.
More than 50 wounded were rushed to Va'l'ipunam hospital, 15 of them died upon admission.
8 persons were killed at Aachiththoaddam in Va'l'lipunam on Tuesday.
Patients at Maaththa'lan hospital
Maaththa'lan hospital photographed on 13 February, 2009
Maaththa'lan hospital on 13 February, 2009, has become the main centre for medical treatment
An 18-months old child killed in SLA shelling
A dead body being carried away by the family of the victim
A mother seeking shelter from artillery barrage with children
A wounded child being treated at a health care centre in Chuthanthirapuram