Posted on May 14th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

As the Sri Lanka Army closed in on the narrowing strip of land held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) more than 5000 civilians held hostage by them started escaping to the protection of the Sri Lanka security forces , army sources revealed.
The Army sources said the exodus began after the Army opened up rescue passages in the narrow strip of land still occupied by the LTTE
Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph newspaper of London said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-If this terrible episode is drawing to a close, with the final defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, that is wholeheartedly to be welcomed. The Tigers have cynically maximised human suffering by trapping innocent people inside the only territory still under their control.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚
The Army also said huge explosions were heard in the area where the LTTE leadership is hiding followed by thick black smoke seen rising up on the ground. They said after that LTTE radio communication went silent.
The London Times on line said . ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Thousands of Sri Lankan civilians waded across a lagoon under fire from the Tamil Tigers today to escape the pocket of northeastern coastline where the army has surrounded rebels in what looks like the final stages of a 26-year civil war.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚
ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The army said that aerial surveillance footage showed that about 5,000 people had escaped the conflict zone, which now covers less than 1.5 square miles (3.9 square km), and had come under fire from the Tigers.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚
In the process of this escape at least four Tamil civilians were killedƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  and 14 injured the military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said.
The Times on line added, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The United Nations which estimates there are up to 50,000 civilians trapped in the area, confirmed that 5,000-6,000 of them were either crossing the lagoon or had already reached the other side safely.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚
Amin Awad, the UNƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s acting representative for Sri Lanka, also accused the Tigers of opening fire on the civilians, the Times said..
The defense website said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Sri Lanka soldiers have rescued over 3300 civilians held at hostage by the LTTE terrorists by this evening (May 14) reveal defense forces. According to the sources , the rescue mission is underway with thousand more civilians seeking refuge with the soldiers in the Vellaimulliwaikkal area even at the time of filing this report. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Troops of 58 Division since last morning started maneuvering southwards along the coast on the Eastern border of the newly declared civilian safety Zone, and have been able to eliminate LTTE strongholds up to the Farah III shipwreck , located on the Kariamulliwaikkal coast.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Farah 111 is the Jordanian Merchant ship the LTTE hijacked some years ago, when it was in the Mulaittivu waters.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-According to the sources, the shipwreck has been the main costal stronghold of the terrorists, on which their heavy machine guns were placed. The soldiers had to encounter stiff resistance from the terrorist manning the shipwreck when they posed the open beachhead this morning. Infantrymen of 11th Sri Lanka light infantry and 12 Gajaba Regiment upon reaching the location have attacked and destroyed the dinghy boats on which the terrorists had attempted to escape

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Meanwhile, a huge explosion has been reported in the civilian safety zone where the LTTE leaders are currently hiding in. According to the reports, the soldiers have heard the explosion around 6.30 P.M , after which they have observed thick black smoke rising above 200m from the ground. Following the explosion, all radio communications among the LTTE units have come to a standstill, the reports added.

Reports from 59 Division said that 4 civilians were killed and 14 others suffers serious injuries when the terrorists opened fire at them as they sought refuge with the soldiers.

Sri Lanka Air force has airlifted 12 of the injured to the government hospital Anuradhapura.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  An earlier website announcement said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Military formations advancing in three fronts determined to rescue civilian hostages held by LTTE at the newly declared civilian safe zone, at Velamullaivaikkal have succeeded in their objective this afternoon (May 14), with an estimated number of over 1500 civilians freed from LTTE hostage.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-According to ground military sources, the civilian exodus is continuing with people seeking protection with the 59 Division troops now operating North of the Wadduvakal causeway. The three frontal simultaneous military surge led by the 58, 53 and 59 Divisions have denied LTTE, strategic ground advantage also thining-out the LTTE’s lines of defences, providing enough escape route for hostages, security sources said.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Meanwhile, terrorists have continued mounting indiscriminate shelling and mortar attacks at both hostages and troops, military said.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  According to Air Force Spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara, 12 hostages injured due to indiscriminate LTTE small arms attackƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  were airlifted from Mulliyaweli to the general hospital at Anuradhapura.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Sri Lanka Army 53 and 58 Division are now sweeping around the new civilians safety zone, reveal latest reports from the battlefront. Meanwhile, 59 Division troops have been able to rescue about 1000 civilians held hostage by the terrorists in the Vellamullivaikkal area, the sources added.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-According to the sources, over 1000 civilians have been able to seek refuge with the soldiers of Army 59 Division manning the southern frontage by this afternoon (May 14). Also, another 200-250 civilians have been received by troops of 58 and 53 Divisions.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Reports further say that the infantrymen of 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry have spearhead the advance along the north-eastern coast and established their positions few hundred meters short of the Farah III shipwreck.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Navy is currently assisting the ICRC mission of rescuing civilians via sea route. According to the sources, the ship Oriental Princess has taken 500 MT of essential items to Mullaittivu and the MV Green Ocean II is currently waiting at the Mullaittivu coast to receive patients from the LTTE held areas.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚



  1. Gabriel Says:

    I think it is finally over. Other news sources are indicating the large explosion seen in the NFZ is indeed the command bunker of the LTTE. They have finally taken there lives or someone has blown them up. Groups that have been in contact with the LTTE by radio and cellular phones are also indicating an ominous silence from the LTTE end. Radio chatter has indeed gone quiet. Peace at last!

  2. Gordon Shumway Says:

    They are creating fires and explosions in my opinion to cover aerial views of UAVs.

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