61 schoolgirls killed, 129 wounded in airstrike
[TamilNet, Monday, 14 August 2006, 04:15 GMT]
At least 61 schoolgirls were killed and 129 were wounded when Sri Lankan Kfir jets bombed a children's home compound in Mullaithivu district Monday morning where schoolgirls were attending a residential course on first aid, LTTE officials at the Peace Secretariat in Kilinochchi said. Ambulances were rushing the wounded, many of whom are bleeding badly, to hospitals, sources said. Officials of the LTTE, briefing reporters in Kilinochchi, described the attack as “a horrible act of terror” by the Sri Lankan armed forces. UN’s child agency, UNICEF, and international truce monitors have visited the scene of the carnage.
Four Kfir jet bombers of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) dropped 16 bombs on the premises of the Sencholai children’s home in Vallipunam on Paranthan-Mullaithivu road, killing at least 61 schoolgirls who were attending
33 bodies have been taken to Puthukudiyiruppu hospital. Other bodies, in severely damaged state, were being identified.
More than 400 schoolgirls were staying in Chencholai. Kfir bombers were flown to the target without circling over the attack site, civilian sources said.
52 wounded girls were rushed to Mullaithivu hospital. 13 were admitted at Puthukudiyiruppu hospital. At least 64 wounded were taken to Kilinochchi hospital.
Girls from various schools in the Mullaitivu district were staying overnight at the compound, attending a course in first-aid, LTTE officials in Kilinochchi said.
The officials at the LTTE Peace Secretariat denounced the Sri Lankan airstrike as “a horrible act of terror.”
They condemned the “deliberate, cold-blooded and inhumane” targeting of the schoolgirls compound by the daylight air raid.
The LTTE Peace Secretariat urged representatives of international agencies in Kilinochchi, including UNICEF, to visit the site of the bombing.
They also urged the international Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM), overseeing the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) to attend the site.
In September 1999, SLAF jets killed 21 people in a similar daylight raid.
Commenting at the time, in 1999, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said: “We can confirm that 21 civilians were killed consequent to the air strike at Manthuvil junction …The ICRC deplores the fact that the air strikes were carried out in a civilian area.”
The ICRC is yet to comment on the Sencholai bombing.