Tigers slam wounding of US journalist

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 April 2001, 13:43 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers Thursday condemned the wounding Monday of an American journalist by Sri Lanka Army troops who opened fire on Marie Colvin's party as "an act of cowardice" and praised the correspondent's bravery in crossing into the Vanni to examine the situation there for herself. Ms. Colvin had crossed the lines back into government-held territory with the hope the SLA would honour its unilateral New-Year truce, the LTTE said in a statement issued in the Vanni.

The text of the statement follows:

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in an official statement issued today from its headquarters in Vanni, northern Sri Lanka, blamed the government troops for opening fire on the American journalist Marie Catherine Colvin and wounding her when she attempted to cross the northern front lines on Monday night. "It is an act of cowardice by nervous trigger-happy soldiers", the statement said.

"Ms Marie Colvin decided to cross the front lines in Vavuniya hoping that the Sri Lankan troops would not fire since the government declared a temporary cease-fire for five days for the Sinhala- Tamil New Year festival. But the troops opened fire at her and at our cadres violating the very truce unilaterally declared by them", the statement observed.

The Tamil Tigers praised the American journalist as "a courageous lady with commitment and dedication who had traversed the most dangerous regions on earth ravaged by war and violence in search of objective truth".

"The Sri Lankan government has banned all journalists, foreign and local, with the ulterior motive of covering up the atrocities and injustices committed to half a million people in Vanni, the majority of whom are displaced people faced with intolerable suffering. Ms. Marie Colvin took a bold decision to cross over to the war zone to see for herself the tragic conditions of our people who are condemned to live as the wretched of the earth. We admire her courage and humanism", the statement said.

The LTTE called upon the Sri Lankan Government to lift the ban on media personal entering the Vanni to avoid such tragic incidents in the future.

 

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