Sri Lanka admits civilian deaths during separatist war

August 2nd, 2011 - 3:26 pm ICT by BNO News  

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (BNO NEWS) – The government of Sri Lanka has admitted there were civilian casualties during the final phase of its civil war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, according to a report released on Monday by the Ministry of Defense.

The report named “Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis July 2006 - May 2009″ said that Sri Lanka security forces started its operations on July 2006 after unsuccessful talks and negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“Having exhausted all alternatives, Sri Lanka used military force at the point when it was necessary to defend its citizens and state from the LTTE. The amount of force used was determined based on a consideration of the strength, resources and sophistication of the LTTE,” said the report.

The Ministry of Defense report also said that civilian casualties were ‘impossible’ to avoid given the strength of the LTTE attacks and the consequent amount of force necessary to fight them. Aware of this, the Defense Ministry said, security forces were ‘very careful’ to keep collateral damage at a minimum.

“The false claims and allegations made by Tamil Diaspora together with the LTTE international network will be laid to rest with the release of the factual analysis reports,” said Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in response to the report.

Yet, the report did not establish the number of civilians that may have been killed during the last phase of the 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka. This report comes after a United Nations (UN) panel earlier this year determined that allegations that war crimes were committed by both Sri Lanka’s military and the LTTE during the armed conflict were credible.

The bloody civil war between the government and the Tamil Tigers left as many as 100,000 people dead. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was militarily wiped out in May 2009, ending the 26-year-old civil war.

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