Passengers say Jaffna situation grim

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 31 May 2000, 11:05 GMT]
Students, government officers and Tamil expatriates from Jaffna who arrived in Trincomalee Wednesday on the passenger ship 'City of Trinco' said that civilians continue to live in fear and uncertainty in the peninsula. A group of university students and officers who spoke to TamilNet this morning said that the Jaffna municipal area is generally deserted and that the curfew imposed by the Sri Lankan army is lifted for only three hours from morning 9 a.m. to 12 noon during the day.

All shop keepers and businessmen in Jaffna town have moved out to safer areas in valikamam west with their belongings, fearing the war might escalate further, according to a government officer who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Liberation Tigers are in Ariyalai, Kaithady, Navatkuly and Chavakachcheri said a university student. His colleagues and a government officer said they had heard reports that several civilians were shot dead in Chavakachcheri when the SLA was pulling out of the town on May 20.

They said that civilians had also moved out of Atchuvely after this area too was shelled in mid May. Some Atchuvely residents have since gone back to stay in their neighbourhoods according to another government officer who arrived today.

He said that SLA imposes a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. in areas under its control outside the Jaffna Municipal area.

Three hundred and thirty seven passengers traveled to Jaffna on the 'City of Trinco' on Friday May 26 with Sri Lanka navy escort after aborting two trips due to the shelling of the Kankesanthurai harbour by the Liberation Tigers since May 19. The passengers were taken in a barge to board the ship that was anchored off the Pt.Pedro jetty Tuesday evening.

 

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