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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 943

Sri Lanka: Mystery shrouds over the killing of civilians in Mannar

Colombo, 03 January, (Asiantribune.com): Who killed the civilians in the fishing village of Padahuthurai near Iluppaikkdavai in the North of Mannar district.

There are claims and counterclaims over the killings.

Mystery deepens while images of injured civilians and children were splashed across, as usual in the pro-Tiger online news portals.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam claimed that it was the Sri Lanka Air-Force that dropped bombs and killed the civilians.

Air-Force denies the killing and in its refutation, insisted that it Kfir jets bombed only identified targets – the sea tiger base at Iluppaikkdavai, north of Mannar.

It is difficult to ascertain the truth behind the claims and counter claims as Media personnel are not allowed to enter the LTTE controlled uncleared areas.

Anyhow according to the Peace Secretariat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, fourteen civilians were dead including six children and more than thirty are injured including scores of children in a Sri Lanka Air-Force air raid on the Tamil fishing village in Mannar.

According to the LTTE, this incident occurred on 2 January 2007, exactly at 9.35 am. LTTE alleged Sri Lankan Air-Force Kfirs bombed the fishing village of Padahuthurai near Iluppaikkdavai in Mannar district.

In the meantime Sri Lankan Air Force on Tuesday claimed that its Kfir jets bombed "an identified Sea Tiger base" north of Mannar and rejected LTTE claims that at least 14 civilians had been killed due to their air raid yesterday morning in Mannar.

"The Israeli-built Kfir ground attack jets carried out air strikes on an identified Sea Tiger base in Illuppaikkadavai, north of Mannar around 0930 hrs local time on Tuesday morning," Air Force spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva told reporters.

Group Captain Silva said, "the particular Sea Tiger base in Illuppaikkadavai was a well identified target and was under constant monitoring by the Air-Force."

However, LTTE’s allegation was corroborated by the Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph. Reports revealed that he has visited Padahuthurai hamlet and has condemned the bombardment. The Bishop of Mannar said that the attack had destroyed the settlement of the Internally Displaced Persons.

"There was no military installation of the LTTE in the area," Bishop told the media.

However Air-Force spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva at a press conference held in Colombo yesterday denied the bombing of the civilians.

Group Captain Ajantha Silva said, "Air-Force Kfir jets carried out air strikes on an identified sea tiger base in Illuppaikadavai in north of Mannar in the northwestern coastal belt, this (Tuesday) morning. The sea tiger base in Illuppaikadavai was a well-identified target, which was under constant monitoring by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF)."

He added that the information spread by LTTE stating that the SLAF has bombed a civilian settlement was false. He said that LTTE was attempting to discredit the security forces to win the sympathy of the international community.

"The Air-Force categorically denies this statement," Group Captain Ajantha Silva reiterated.

- Asian Tribune -

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