WHILE SRI LANKAN PRESIDENT SUSPENDS COMBAT FOR SINHALA AND TAMIL
NEW YEAR, LTTE RESPONDS WITH A BRUTAL ATTACK THAT KILLS EIGHT
SOUTHERN VILLAGERS APRIL 12, 2009
President Rajapaksa on Sunday (12 April 2009)
announced that government troops would halt offensive measures
for two days to mark the Sinhala/Tamil New Year. It was President
Rajapaksa’s hope that a break in hostilities would allow
some of the estimated 70,000 people held by the LTTE as a human
shield to flee to the safety of the government lines. A statement
issued by President Rajapaksa’s office said: “The
President is deeply conscious of the need to give the civilian
population entrapped as hostages by the ruthless actions of the
LTTE, the opportunity to celebrate these festivities in a suitable
atmosphere and to have uninhibited freedom of movement from the
No Fire Zone to the cleared areas. With this objective in view,
His Excellency has directed the Armed Forces of the State to restrict
their operations during the New Year to those of a defensive nature.
The Sinhala & Tamil New Year is symbolic of the amity prevailing
amongst all communities in Sri Lanka.”
However, since the announcement, the LTTE has
prevented civilians from crossing over to the government side.
The LTTE shoots at civilians who attempt to flee.
LTTE terrorist combatants Monday (13 April 2009) used the government’s
self-imposed pause to target Sri Lankan troops with tank fire
in northeastern Sri Lanka. Ignoring a two-day unilateral pause
declared by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the LTTE has
also used the halt in Sri Lankan offensive actions to fortify
its positions within the no-fire zone that the government declared
some weeks back. Aerial surveillance shows the LTTE is using the
government’s pause in combat operations to repositioning
of LTTE cadres to prevent civilians from escaping and regrouping
themselves to vantage points.
Apart from tank fire from within the no-fire zone, which the LTTE
has refused to recognize, LTTE terrorists also struck a village
in southern Sri Lanka Sunday. Just several hours after President
Rajapaksa suspended offensive operations, LTTE terrorists killed
eight innocent civilians in a brutal attack in the village of
Mahagodayaya in southeast Sri Lanka. Two other civilians were
injured. Two of those killed were children -- a one and a half-year-old
infant and an 11-year-old boy.
A number of foreign governments applauded President Rajapaksa
for his decision to pause combat during the New Year holiday.
Sir John Holmes, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian
Affairs welcomed the pause in combat and reiterated that, "The
main message to the Tigers has been please end the suffering of
the people by allowing them to leave if they wish to leave."
The United States recently joined Sri Lanka, the UN, and other
nations in calling for the LTTE to release the civilians it is
holding hostage. Instead, the LTTE shoots civilians who try to
flee to Sri Lankan government’s safety zones. The Sri Lankan
government provides food and medicine to those trapped by the
LTTE. More than 65,000 people have fled the LTTE for the safety
of government welfare centers.
Sunday’s attack was similar to other assaults carried out
by LTTE cadres in the area. Although attacks by the LTTE on civilians
have continued throughout the 25-year long conflict, the frequency
of the attacks has increased in the last two years. Those attacks
- Five farmers killed in LTTE attack - March 25, 2009
- 10 civilians killed by suspected LTTE cadres in Sri Lanka
(Lead) - February 22, 2009
- UN, US deplore suicide attack in Sri Lanka - February 9, 2009
- Four civilians killed in LTTE bus attack: military (Lead)
- July 11, 2008
- Two killed, nine wounded in Colombo blast(Third Lead) - June
Embassy of Sri Lanka
13 April 2009