2ND LEAD

Several civilians killed, 200 wounded within 5 hours as SLA launches onslaught

[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 April 2009, 22:59 GMT]
Several civilians were killed and more than 200, wounded in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) shelling and gunfire, have been admitted at Mu'l'li-vaaykkaal hospital in the early hours of Monday as the SLA opened fire from its positions attempting to advance further into the densely populated so-called safety zone (No Fire Zone) from 3:30 a.m. Monday. Heavy exchange of gunfire continued and civilians were forced to stay inside the bunkers as rounds were whizzing over them. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombers carried out two sorties of air raids in the morning, according to latest reports from Vanni. The aggression by the SLA comes a few hours after Sri Lanka rejected LTTE announced unilateral ceasefire.

SLAF fighter jets unloaded bombs 6 times between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. and 8 times between 10:00 and 10:20 a.m. inside the remaining part of the 'safety zone'.

Mu'l'li-vaaykkaal area in the safety zone is densely populated with tens of thousands of civilians, who are already starving due to the denial by the Sri Lankan government, which has refused to allow World Food Programme (WFP) supplied humanitarian aid into the zone, despite the repeated calls from the International Community to allow humanitarian access into the zone.

Meanwhile, the field office of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), the only local NGO serving over 160,000 civilians inside the zone has expressed fear that there will be more than 10,000 casualties if the the SLA was allowed to continue the onslaught. The open SOS message to the International Community from the TRO said that the area is densely populated and there is no cover from bombs, shells, and bullets.


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