*Analysis: It is not acceptable that Sri Lankan army are shelling point blank at civilians or any human object which is termed as genocide. According to UN resolution by-law Sri Lanka has violated human rights and basic human dignity., which should be brought to notice. (DTN Defense-Technology News)
(NSI News Source Info) April 5, 2009: Sri Lankan forces claim to have killed at least 420 Tamil
Tigers in the last three days and to have driven the last of the rebels into a “no-fire zone” packed with tens of thousands of civilians who have tried to flee the conflict. A Sri Lankan soldier stands near a tank as it fires a shell at Puthukkudiyirippu where fights between the Sri Lanka army and the Liberation Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) are taking place, north east Sri Lanka March 1, 2009. Picture taken on March 1, 2009. After the bloodiest battle in the last year, some 6,000 troops have now captured the entire northeastern region of Puthukkudiyiruppu, the last rebel territory on the edge of the safety zone, according to a military spokesman. "It was close-combat fighting from house to house, street to street in an area full of underground bunkers that had been built up over the course of 20 or so years," Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told The Times. "The fighting is over now. We are just clearing the area and our main concern is how to rescue the civilians inside the safety zone." An estimated 200 hardcore Tigers and several hundred poorly-trained young recruits are holed up with the civilians inside the no-fire zone – a 7.7 square mile strip of land along a beach, he said. Among the rebels is thought to be their charismatic leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and his son, Charles Anthony, who was reported to have been wounded last week. A military statement said the rebels were “facing total annihilation". There was no immediate comment from the Tigers, and it was impossible to confirm the army’s claims as most independent journalists and aid workers are not allowed near the front line. The Times has not been granted a journalist’s visa for Sri Lanka for seven months, despite multiple applications. The latest fighting is sure to heighten international concerns about the 150,000 civilians - mostly ethnic Tamils - that the UN and the Red Cross estimate are trapped inside the safety zone. The government says that there are only about 50,000 civilians left there, and accuses the Tigers of holding them against their will, forcing some to fight while using others as human shields. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, added his voice on Friday to international calls for restraint, amid continued reports of serious rights abuses by both the army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), as the Tigers are officially known. “The Secretary-General calls upon the LTTE leadership to allow civilians to leave the conflict area of their own free will,” he said. He accused the Tigers of violating international law by restricting civilians’ movements, and said he deplored the forced recruitment of civilians, particularly children. “At the same time, the Secretary-General again reminds the Government of Sri Lanka of its responsibility to protect civilians and to avoid the use of heavy weapons in areas where there are civilians, as promised,” he continued. “The Government should receive and treat displaced persons in accordance with international law, and work closely with the United Nations in meeting the protection and physical needs of displaced persons.” The government has yet to reveal how it plans to defeat the rebels inside the safety zone, where it says they have been building fortifications. But Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, the army chief, told the state-run Sunday Observer newspaper that tens of thousands of civilians would soon be rescued from the zone. The government had hoped to be able to declare a conventional military victory over the Tigers by April 14, which is Sinhalese and Tamil New Year, but officials now say they may need another three weeks or so. The Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for an independent homeland for the Tamil minority, which is mostly Hindu, to protect them from discrimination at the hands of the Sinhalese majority, which is largely Buddhist. More than 70,000 people have been killed in one of the world's longest running current civil wars.