790 schoolchildren escape SLAF attack

[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 January 2008, 13:09 GMT]
790 schoolchildren and 22 teachers at the Kanakapuram Maha Viththiyaalayam school escaped the jaws of death when four Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) fighter jets dropped bombs barely 100 meters away from their school in the Ki'linochchi suburb Thursday morning. A repeat of the gruesome Chegnchoalai massacre was avoided as civilians sought shelter inside bunkers, managed to flee the area and anti-aircraft fire disturbed the SLAF mission. One civilian was killed and seven wounded in the air strike.

Parents fleeing with their children

A teacher with schoolchildren outside the Central College
Partens seen taking away children from the primary school at Central College

SLAF bomber escaping from anti-aircraft fire, photographed by TamilNet correspondent who was near the attack site. Anti-aircraft fire explosion seen on the left.
Wounded arriving at Ki'linochchi hospital
Tiger anti-aircraft gunners rushed to the spot and started firing which ensured that SLAF bombers stopped with two rounds of bombing. Three more attempts of pinpoint dive bombing had to be aborted by the SLAF because of this immediate intervention.

Terror gripped the town as more than 5000 students from the five schools in Ki'linochchi (Central College, Ki'linochchi Maha Viththiyaalayam, Mother Teresa Girls College, Ki'linochchi Hindu College and Kanakapuram Maha Viththiyaalayam) started fleeing to save their lives.

Anxious mothers in the settlement were seen running helter-skelter as the bombs started to target their houses.

Six homes were reduced to rubble in the aerial attack. Nine more houses sustained heavy damages. More than 15 families are now stranded without shelter.

Passer-by vehicles and NGO vans were seen helping residents who were fleeing to escape the SLAF bombardment. Private and public offices and shops were closed in the town.

Schoolchildren from Ki'linochchi Maha Viththiyalayam seeking refuge under a tree

A crater created by the explosion near Kanakapuram school
Civilians who lost their houses have sought refuge under trees



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