Sri Lankan troops shell "safe zone" for civilians
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) unilaterally announced a "secure zone" for civilians on Wednesday 21-Jan 2009. However, in the early hours of Thursday 22-Jan 2009 the “secure zone” came under Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher and Artillery gun attacks. The affected zone houses an institution for disabled children and a tightly populated settlement. The locality is known as Va'l'lipunam. At least 11 dead bodies and more than 25 wounded were brought to the makeshift hospital (Mullaiththeevu hospital) functioning at Va'l'lipunam school Thursday morning.
On Friday 23-Jan 2009, five civilians, including a10-year-old girl and a 56-year-old Saiva priest, were killed and 83 civilians wounded when shells fired by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) rained on the 'safe zone' areas such as Iruddumadu in Udaiyaarkaddu and Va'l'lipunam in Mullaiththeevu district at least four times, according to medical sources in the region. More than 20 of the wounded people were children.
Today’s shelling and Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) rocket fire targeted the villages Thearaavil, Mayilvaakanapuram, Iruddumadu, Va'l'lipunam and Theavipuram at 10:45 a.m., 11:00 a.m., around 2:30 p.m., and 6:00 p.m (all local time) respectively.
The Sri Lankan military shelled a village and a makeshift hospital inside a government-declared "safe zone" for civilians in the north Thursday, killing at least 30 people and wounding scores, local health officials said.
The military denied hitting the hospital and said it was taking precautions to protect civilians. Health officials said that at least 67 civilians have been killed in shelling since Tuesday.
In an effort to coax civilians to leave, the government dropped leaflets throughout the region Wednesday announcing the establishment of a "safe zone" on the edge of rebel-held territory that it would not attack.
But an hour after the leaflets were dropped, two shells hit a makeshift hospital in a school in Vallipunam, a village inside the "safe zone," said Kandasamy Tharmakulasingham, a health official. No one was wounded in that attack, he said.
On Thursday morning, the hospital and a nearby village were hit again in an attack so devastating that health officials had difficulty counting the bodies because many of them were dismembered, he said.
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