Over 122,000 Wanni civilians seek refuge in
The 58 Division troops backed by the Commando and
Special Forces troops yesterday continued their humanitarian operation
to rescue the civilians trapped inside the Safe Zone after reaching the
Eastern beachfront dividing the Safe Zone into two enabling more
civilians to arrive into the military controlled areas as huge influx of
civilians continued till yesterday evening.
The Security Forces were able to rescue more than
62,000 within the last 48 hours ending midnight yesterday and more than
10,000 other civilians are awaiting to reach the Security Forces
controlled areas. This brings the total number of civilians who fled the
LTTE grip to over 122,000.
"More than 58,000 civilians have arrived in military
controlled areas by land and another 4,000 by sea", Army Commander Lt.
General Sarath Fonseka told the Daily News.
A huge influx of civilians were reported from the 58
Division area as more than one km long queue to enter Security Forces
held areas was witnessed even by yesterday evening.
The Security Forces engaged in this humanitarian
operation facilitated the arrival of tens of thousands of civilians into
military controlled areas by providing them water and food as they
reached the Security Forces controlled areas crossing the lagoon in
Puthumattalan and Ampalavanpokkanai area. The Army Commander said the
operation to rescue the civilians trapped inside the No Fire Zone was
planned in such a way that civilians could reach the military controlled
areas by land and also by sea as ground troops manned the beach fronts
without enabling the LTTE to prevent the civilians fleeing by sea.
"The civilians fleeing from the No Fire Zone are
arriving towards Navy operating some 20 km away from the Safe Zone in
Chundikulam and Nayaru", the Army Commander said.
He said the troops engaged in the process of expanding
their defences within the Safe Zone yesterday launched an attack on the
last remaining Sea Tiger base in Puthumattalan compelling the Sea Tiger
leaders to flee from that base.
The Army Commander said that the Security Forces are
expecting another 10,000 civilians from the Safe Zone within the course
of the next few hours leaving all the Tiger leaders there in the No Fire
Zone. The 58 Division which started humanitarian operation from Mannar
in the Western coast made a record yesterday reaching the Eastern coast
of the No Fire Zone after a 175 km march from Mannar to Puthumattalan.
The 58 Division managed to expand their defences
towards the eastern beach front after capturing the Puthumattalan
hospital, Ampalavanpokkanai hospital complex by yesterday evening.
"The 58 Division troops backed by Commando and Special
Forces troops further expanded their defences towards the North with the
objective of the linking up with the 55 Division which is also heading
towards the No Fire Zone from the Northern direction", 58 Division GOC
brigadier Shavendra Silva told the Daily News.
He said that during their march towards the eastern
coast the troops launched an attack on LTTE vehicle killing Batticaloa
leader Ramanan and three of his body guards.
Courtesy : Daily News