2ND LEAD

8 pilgrims killed in Muhamalai, 4 survive, fate of 37 not known

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 August 2006, 14:56 GMT]
Seven Jaffna civilians returning from a religious pilgrimage to Kathirgamam Hindu Temple were killed by artillery fired by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops retreating north from the Muhamalai checkpost, civil society sources in Jaffna said. The SLA had blocked a bus with 48 civilian pilgrims returning from Kathirgamam to Jaffna Friday evening. Four of the passengers survived artillery and gunfire attacks by the SLA troops while withdrawing from their checkposts. The injured were rescued by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres Saturday. Fate of the others is not known.

pilgrims
Subramaniyam Packiyaluxmy, 65
pilgrims
Thurairajah Thavamani, 68
"We spread ourselves in all the directions as fighting broke out," says Subramaniyam Packiyaluxmy, 65, a survivor.

The passengers were forced to stay along the road as the troopers engaged LTTE in artillery duel. Later the soldiers manning the checkpost withdrew from the checkpost leaving the stranded civilians in the checkpost unattended, one of the survivors said.

Packiyaluxmy and 3 others went behind a nearby toilet and took cover. Later, the Sri Lankan troopers fired gunshots and mortars while withdrawing from the area.

"We stayed there, entrapped, throughout the night till Tigers came today morning," she says.

At least 7 persons were killed in shelling, according to Packiyaluxmy. The fate of the others is not known, she says.

Arumugam Sivasubramaniam, 61, from Kaithady, Nadarasa Indra, 51, and Thurairajah Thavamani, 68, from Anaikoddai, were the three others who were entrapped behind the toilet in Muhamalai checkpost and rescued Saturday.

pilgrims
Arumugam Sivasubramaniam, 61
pilgrims
Nadarasa Indra, 51

 

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