2ND LEAD

SLA shells Vaharai hospital, 5 civilians wounded

[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 January 2007, 17:37 GMT]
Sri Lanka army stationed at Mankerny and Kajuwatta camps have been continuously pounding the besieged Vaharai area with artillery shells from Thursday morning. SLA fired shells targeted Vaharai hospital area in the morning and in the evening and wounded five persons. Despite an urgent message passed to ICRC notifying the attack, after the SLA shelling Thursday morning between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m., the hopsital vicinty was attacked again in the evening at 5:15 p.m. wounding four civilians seriously. Targeting of medical facilities is a serious breach of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) that applies to both internal and international armed conflicts.

Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have taken refuge at the area surrounding the hospital.

Eight shells fell around the hospital between 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and injured one person slightly. The shelling ceased temporarily, only in the vicinity, after the doctor in charge, Thurairajah Varatharajah, had informed the ICRC about the shelling.

However, around 5:15 p.m., six more shells fell in the hospital premises and injured four people seriously. All the injured people are being treated at Vaharai hospital and the shelling is continuing further.

Around 15000 civilians including the IDPs displaced from neighboring Trincomalee district stay around the hospital fearing the military offensive.


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