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Sri Lankan Civil War History: More than 2800 Civilians escape Rebel Held Territory in One Day

October 18, 2015

Sri Lankan Civil War History: More than 2800 Civilians escape Rebel Held Territory in One Day

First Published April 19th 2009 03:53

Sri Lankan Civil War Update: More than 2800 Civilians escape Rebel Held Territory in One Day

April-19-2009


1253 children, 832 women, and 772 men.


It was reported by the Sri Lankan government that 2828 civilian Tamils have been able to escape the last remaining territory held by the LTTE (Tamil Tiger) rebels. This is the largest number recorded in one day According to government sources the group of refugees included 1253 children, 832 women, and 772 men.


The situation for the last few days has been tense as the Government imposed 2 day halt to the fighting expired. Pressure from international voices has been building to demand the Sri Lanka extend the ceasefire indefinitely. However, this request was rejected by Government as being unrealistic as a time when the last remaining LTTE cadres are trapped in a tiny stretch of land of less than 20sq km. Whilst the ceasefire was in force only a tiny number of Tamil civilians crossed over from LTTE held areas, 200 or so. 

Also in the midst of the Ceasefire both France and Britain have agreed that the LTTE are holding tens of thousands of Tamil Civilians as human shields. They also condemn the Sri Lankan government for not doing enough to protect civilians from being killed in the crossfire.

The LTTE also offered a permanent ceasefire on the condition that they enter into internationally sponsored negotiations over the ethnic issue. The government has rejected any such deal and has said that the LTTE must first lay down their weapons and reject violence before any talks can be held with them. It was also made abundantly clear on several occasions, by the Sri Lankan President, that the any future talks over the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka will definitely exclude the LTTE, indicating that they no longer need to consider the LTTE demands any longer.


The escape of this large number of civilians came soon after news that the Sri Lankan Army destroyed a blockade built by the LTTE.
One of the escapees was reported as saying,


“There were about 5000 others with us, we managed to scare away LTTE cadres manning the bunkers. They fired at us, but they could not stop us coming out…”

Later he added.

” …The LTTE ordered them to open fire at the civilians and prevent them escaping in to the cleared areas at any cost. Yet, we do not know the extent to which the terrorists have carried out that order.” 

There have been huge variations in the estimates of how many civilians are still trapped in the LTTE territory. However, the government is citing figures of between 50000 and 60000. So far 67000 civilians have crossed over from LTTE held territory to government-held lands.

The Civil War in Sri Lanka has cost over 70,000 lives so far.

More news will be reported as it comes.

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