Sri Lanka announces safe zone for Tamil civiliansJanuary 21st, 2009 - 10:54 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Jan 21 (Xinhua) Tamil civilians who are currently trapped in the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka are free to leave the area to safety, the military said Wednesday. Military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said an area near the A-35 highway had been declared a safe zone. “We want the civilians, now held by the LTTE, to come to the safe zone,” he said.
He added that leaflets have been air-dropped to advise civilians in the rebel-held areas to move to the safety zone.
According to aid agencies, some 200,000 to 230,000 civilians are trapped in the last stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Mullaithivu district.
The government said the figure would be much smaller. Nanayakkara said the civilians have begun to leave the rebel-held region, with nearly 3,000 arriving in government-controlled areas last week.
Local and international rights groups have condemned the LTTE for using civilians as human shield in the conflict with security forces.
The LTTE faces eviction from their last hold of Mullaithivu as the military is continuing its forward march.
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- Six soldiers, 26 rebels killed in Sri Lanka - Mar 28, 2009
- Sri Lanka claims rebels defeated; fighting continues (Roundup) - May 17, 2009
- Sri Lankan military takes last stretch of LTTE-held coast (Second Lead) - May 16, 2009
- Credible allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka war: UN report - Apr 26, 2011
- Sri Lankan civilians flee rebel-held areas for second day - Apr 21, 2009
- Sri Lankan rebels claim 1,000 civilians killed this week (Second Lead) - Apr 21, 2009
- Rebels turn back fleeing civilians, Sri Lankan military charges - Feb 12, 2009
- 30,000 civilians flee LTTE-held areas, 17 killed in blasts (Third Lead) - Apr 20, 2009
- Ban welcomes escape of Sri Lankans from conflict zone - Apr 21, 2009
- Rebel attack foiled, president returns claiming victory - May 17, 2009
- Sri Lankan troops rescue 5,000 civilians from rebel area - Apr 20, 2009
- Sri Lanka captures last stretch of rebel-held coast (Lead) - May 16, 2009
- Rebels attack ship in Sri Lanka - Mar 09, 2009
- Troops enter 'safety zone' in Sri Lanka (Lead) - May 12, 2009
Tags: conflict zone, forward march, human shield, jan 21, leaflets, liberation tigers of tamil eelam, liberation tigers of tamil eelam ltte, military spokesman, northern sri lanka, rights groups, safe zone, safety zone, security forces, stronghold, tamil civilians, xinhua