Troops 'shot students at close range’ - SLMM

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 November 2006, 14:38 GMT]
International truce monitors said on Sunday Sri Lankan troops entered a school and opened fire on a group of students at close range on Saturday, killing five, after a deadly Tamil Tiger ambush on government forces. "These soldiers fired indiscriminately at a group of students who had thrown themselves on the ground seeking safety after an LTTE (Tamil Tiger) claymore mine blast nearby," Helen Olafsdottir, spokeswoman for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission that oversees the 2002 ceasefire, told Reuters.

"Witnesses say that soldiers jumped over the fence, into the agricultural school premises, and opened fire," she added.

"They shot from close range, five of the students were killed and at least 10 others were injured."

A Sri Lankan military spokesman said ground troops told him the civilians were killed in crossfire after a Tamil Tiger blast in the northern district of Vavuniya killed five soldiers on Saturday, and that police were investigating.

Also Sunday, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a coalition of Sri Lanka’s main Tamil parties, condemned the massacre, pointing that 99% of Sri Lankan troops are Sinhalese and hostile to the Tamil population..

“This is yet another crime in a very long list of such crimes that have deliberately and systematically targeted innocent Tamil civilians. These are war crimes of the most serious nature,” the TNA said in a press release that described the execution style killings on Saturday.


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