Civilians flee SLA shelling
[TamilNet, Monday, 20 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
Reports from Vavuniya said today that a large number of displaced persons who had settled in the eastern sector of the Mullaithivu district following Operation Riviresa in early 1996, have begun moving enmasse to the western areas of the Vanni.
This exodus out of eastern Mullaithivu is due to the widespread and indiscriminate shelling that's been directed at most villages in the southeastern parts of Mullaithivu from Sri Lankan army bases said the sources.
The Sri Lankan army's big guns have been hitting the villages since early last week, according to the sources.
All major routes leading out of the eastern sector of the Mullaithivu district have been cut off in the latest round of battles in the Vanni jungles between the SLA and the Liberation Tigers. (see yesterday's TamilNet story)
Reports say that the refugees have been moving in large crowds in the past few days towards Mallavi, Thunukkai and Skandapuram through dirt tracks.
The exodus has also been prompted by rumors that the SLA might turn in the direction of Mullaithivu town along the Ottisuddan road said an official who arrived yesterday from the LTTE controlled region of the Vanni.
The vast majority of the people trying to flee Mullaitivu had settled there after fleeing the Sri Lankan army's onslaught in the Jaffna peninsula in early 1996.
Meanwhile, Tamils who were arrested near the Kilinochchi SLA base early this month and brought to Jaffna revealed that many parts of the Vanni are permeated with the foul odour of wild animals and cattle slaughtered by the SLA's artillery and mortar fire.
19.10.97 Mullaitivu faces total blockade