International fears for Tamil civilians caught in Sri Lanka war
As Sri Lankan army is progressing forward and about to completely eradicate the control of LTTE, the future of innocent Tamil civilians have come to fore.
Thousands of Tamil civilians have been caught in a crossfire between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan armed forces, as the latter’s battle to eliminate the rebels nears its end.
Indian external Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is rushing to Sri Lanka today to hold talks with the island nation’s government amid reports that LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has been cornered,
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concern over the fate of civilians trapped between government troops and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the northeast of the island.
Ban "is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of civilians caught in intensified fighting in the Wanni region of Sri Lanka between the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka," said a statement issued by his press office.
The United Nations said Monday at least 30 civilians had been killed in the fighting, amid a government drive to root out the last pockets of Tamil Tiger resistance.
The European Union also joined in by asking Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to ensure that civilians were spared as troops moved to crush the Tigers who lost their last urban stronghold of Mullaittivu on Sunday.
EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the Tamil Tigers, who are on the EU list of terrorist groups, must guarantee the free movement of the civilian population and release all child soldiers.
Sri Lanka's military denied that it targeted civilians in a "safe zone," an area demarcated by the military to allow some 150,000 civilians behind Tiger lines to take shelter and avoid getting caught in the crossfire.
However, the defence ministry said the Tigers had moved their artillery into the safe zone and were firing at civilians in a bid to shift the blame on to government troops.
"Tiger terrorists, now in their death throes having lost almost all of their remaining strongholds and hideouts in Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu districts, are resorting to every possible inhuman and barbaric trick," the ministry said.