Lankan Tamil party leader concerned over night air raid

April 18th, 2008 - 1:08 am ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, April 17 (IANS) A pro-government Tamil moderate leader in Sri Lanka Thursday expressed his “grave concern” over the night air raid by Sri Lankan Air Force jets in the rebel-held northern Wanni region, and urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa “to take immediate action to prevent it”. Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader V. Anandasangari in an urgent letter to Rajapaksa with copies to the air force commander and the defence secretary has stated that the aerial attack in the night would cause immense hardships and casualties among the civilians and “families with children will be the worst affected”.

“I am much perturbed over the midnight strike on Oddusuddan by the Sri Lankan Air Force and also the decision to intensify the same causes me grave anxiety and concern,” Anandasangari has said.

“The aerial attack during the daytime itself is bad enough, although the civilians have the advantage of making an attempt to run away and save their lives. In spite of this advantage available, there had been many instances of civilians dying and getting seriously injured,” he has pointed out in his letter.

While reiterating his position that “people in Wanni should be liberated from the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)”, Anandasangari has stated that he did not want “a single civilian life lost due to army action”.

His appeal for the immediate halt on the night air raid has come at a time when the government said the supersonic fighter jets had bombed a “key logistics hub” used by the rebels for construction and other work in the general area of Visvamadhu Thursday morning.

“The target was engaged after observing its recent increase of activities. Visvamadhu area is considered as main hub of LTTE activities,” the defence ministry said.

However, the Tigers in a statement said the aircraft had hit “several civilian huts”, killing a child.

“Four F-7 bombers bombed a civilian settlement in Punnainiraviyaddi in Visvamadhu in Mullaitivu district. One child was instantly killed and several civilian huts and houses destroyed,” the LTTE statement said.

In a separate report, the defence ministry said that the fresh gun battles between the government troops and the rebels in Wanni region had left at least 16 LTTE cadres killed and 65 wounded Wednesday.

It also said that at least one soldier was killed and 25 wounded during the clashes on Wednesday.

Independent verifications on the casualties are not possible as journalists are barred from visiting the battlefront.

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