Sri Lankan cluster shelling kills 129 civilians within 7 hours

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 March 2009, 10:55 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) fired artillery shells fitted with cluster munitions and fire-bombs into civilian 'safety zone' killing at least 129 civilians between 2:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Around 200 civilians were wounded. 300 tarpaulin huts burned down to ashes in Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) fired rockets. The medical store at Valaignarmadam has sustained damage and the son of a doctor was reported killed there, according to initial reports. A local NGO official, who was coordinating the rescue of the wounded described the carnage as "Colombo’s show of open mockery at international concern," reports TamilNet's Vanni correspondent. "The attack was criminally deliberate as it was timed for the aftermath of a mini cyclone and floods, at the stranded civilians," the NGO official said.

"In a show of open mockery at the mounting international concern for civilians in Vanni, the Colombo government indiscriminately attacked all parts of the ‘safe zone’ using every kind of lethal shells, some of them banned in many countries."

The low-lying and inhospitable coastal terrain, bereft of vegetation, was the choice of the government as the safe-zone for herding civilians. The government has now turned it into a killing zone, where civilians every day die in hundreds due to shelling and starvation.

Commenting further, the NGO official who didn't wish to be named said: "What the Colombo government is committing is not ordinary genocide, but mass torture and genocide."

"Why Colombo is doing this is quite obvious. Because, in truth, the war waged by Colombo is against the Tamil people, aiming at their subjugation," he says.

"Let the criminal minded international pundits, who argue in favour of the Colombo government for its right to wage this war tell us in what way the killings in the ‘safe zone’ are different from the proven genocides elsewhere in the world."

"The alternative suggested to the civilians is a worse form of concentration camps intended for years."

A civilian who escaped the shelling, but witnessed people standing nearby killed, came out with a touching statement on Sunday that he was 'unfortunate to survive'.

Comments from the NGO official tells the extent of the resentment and anger among the civilians in Vanni:

"The Indian Establishment and the Co-Chairs countries share responsibilities for the genocide and war crimes taking place in the island.

"With a stroke of pen they declared the fighting force of the Tamils as ‘terrorists’ and tilted the balance in favour of the genocidal government.

"They provided money, weapons and diplomatic leverage to Colombo.

"The war waged by Colombo is a proxy war of all of them.

"Are they in a position now to stop the real terrorism of Colombo and genocide?

"All these years they couldn’t even lift a finger to all the human rights abuses taking place in the island.

"What we see even now is only lip services, meaningless statements, sabotage at UN and dodging tactics.

"While the US Pacific Command is planning how to handover the people into the murderous hands of Colombo, the US Ambassador in Colombo is seen pleading the chauvinists even for subservient concessions, rejected by Tamils long back," commented the NGO worker.


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