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DateLine Sunday, 17 February 2008

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Government Gazette

Escapees from LTTE held areas on the rise

The numbers of the LTTE cadres and civilians fleeing the LTTE controlled areas are on the increase as the military advances into terrorist controlled areas in the Wanni. As these operations are going on, nine to ten people escape to the non-liberated areas seeking protection from the government military.

Task Force 1 Commander Shavindra de Silva told the 'Sunday Observer' that the number of terrorists abandoning the outfit has increased and nine escaped from the LTTE controlled areas, last week.

According to Brig. De Silva, three out of nine people who surrendered to military were hardcore LTTE members. He said that since there was no exit point from the LTTE held areas to Mannar, people use very dangerous routes to reach the government controlled areas.

"Some routes are heavily mined", he said. The Task Force Commander said that the morale of the LTTE cadres is reduced and the group was getting weaker and weaker daily due to strong military offensives. He said that over 10 LTTE terrorists were killed and many others were wounded than earlier on a daily basis.

"The Army is prepared to assist innocent civilians coming from the LTTE controlled areas and provide food, water, clothing and other necessary facilities, he said. Brig. de Silva said that the LTTE had mis-informed those who were trapped in their areas that the government would ill-treat them. " But those who are already with us will prove that The LTTE's propaganda is totally false", he said.

According to Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), 26 civilians - young and old - have sought refuge in government controlled areas last February 14 and 15. Ending a fourteen hour journey passing through difficult jungle routes, four civilians including, three family members - father (65), mother (58) and their daughter (30)- had fled the uncleared area coming to the Navy - Police combined checkpoint at Pallimunai yesterday morning.

The LTTE had tried to kidnap a 30-year-old young volunteer teacher attached to a government school in Vaddithalativue. Later she escaped from the LTTE with her parents. Fourteen civilians including four females from Vallankulam area had also escaped from the LTTE and sought refuge with the Police and Navy at Pallimunai. Complaining about the difficulties under the LTTE control, the civilians said that the LTTE had forced them to leave their native lands. They have also reported about the harassment suffered under the LTTE.

Meanwhile, Brig. de Silva said that the army had found several letters written by female LTTE cadres about the harassment and inhumane treatment they were undergoing. (The letters)

 

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