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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

Now more IDPs are escaping from LTTE in New Safety Zone despite LTTE sporadic shootings

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor – Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune

Colombo, 15 May, ( According to Army figures released this morning 3765 Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) escaped from the LTTE in the New Safety Zone and reported to troops at Mullaitivu yesterday. From reports being received today at the moment there is a steady influx of IDPs escaping from the LTTE in the New Safety Zone in spite of sporadic shootings and other deterrents by the LTTE.

Military sources said troops were proceeding with extreme caution as the humanitarian operations to rescue civilians reach a final stage. Brig. Shavendra de Silva, General Officer in-charge of 58th Division, was quoted in the media saying "We believe that the LTTE would be left with no option but to let the civilians out of its grip. Our focus at the moment is on innocent citizens held hostage by the Tigers. We would target the Tiger cadres and leaders only after all the civilians are evacuated from the New Safety Zone".

The military has gathered considerable documentary evidence to prove that at least on three occasions the Tigers fired artillery within the New Safety Zone. "It was also in possession of evidence to show the LTTE was destroying permanent buildings in the New Safety Zone and setting on fire vehicles filled with belongings of the civilians. The obvious game plan of the LTTE is to put the blame on the military. Their days are numbered" Brig. Shavendra de Silva said.

Among the heavy weapons of the LTTE found by security forces is a Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) used by the LTTE which was found by troops of 58th Division conducting a search and clearing operation in Karyalaimullivaikkal on Wednesday morning.

Troops of 11th Sri Lanka Artillery serving under 57th Division uncovered an LTTE aircraft engine and some accessories in a search operation conducted in Thevipuram.

The Army has thwarted what would have been one of the last LTTE counter attacks on troops now positioned south of the no fire zone.

In an attempt to drive out the 59th division troops who had crossed the Waduvakkal Bridge to reach the southern edge of the No Fire Zone, the LTTE had launched a two-pronged assault.

Four explosives-laden LTTE craft approached the newly liberated area. A sizeable group of terrorists who had come in two large boats landed a little distance away from the northern most positions held by the 59th Division. Three of the suicide craft were blown up, military sources said.

Sri Lankan troops who have now pushed deeper into the New Safety Zone, are now set to launch a major operation to rescue civilians held hostage by the LTTE.

- Asian Tribune -

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