4TH LEAD [Photos and audio]

SLA artillery barrage kills civilian in Paranthan, 6 wounded

[TamilNet, Monday, 17 November 2008, 14:00 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) launched an intensive artillery barrage targeting all the roads from Paranthan junction from 2:35 p.m. on Monday, killing a 24-year-old youth in front of Paranthan St. Antony's Church and causing injuries to six, including two elderly men, in the town. Two sisters were severely wounded and were admitted at the Intensive Care Unit of the Tharmapuram hospital. The narrow streets of the town were full of people while the SLA barrage hit the town. More than 750 civilians including school children, government employees, cooperative workers, traders and customers sought refuge on the ground during the attack. A mother who fled the artillery attack with her family narrated the scene to TamilNet correspondent.

SLA artillery barrage in Paranthan.
IDP farmers fleeing Paranthan in bullock cart.


Arumugam Chandra, a mother with her husband, a 9-year-old boy and her elder sister, who fled from her house located 200 meters from St. Antony's Church in Paranthan described in detail how they faced the artillery attack, sought security and managed to flee with a small bag with her identification papers, leaving behind everything else at their house.

IDP family from Paranthan
Arumugam Chandra with her elder sister [behind], 9-year-old boy, an elder boy from her neighbourhood and her husband, says she doesn't have any place to go. The family has become an IDP family on Monday.
"The whole family of mine and an aunt from a nearby house with her child were sitting in front of our house. Then we heard the explosion near ourselves. We throw ourselves on the ground. Shrapnels were screaming overhead as shells were bursting in our backyard. We thought it was the final moment of our life," she said.

"Then, we tried to get up and run, but there was fire on the road; a vehicle was burning. We paused for a moment and at that time we were frightened to imagine how we could manage to flee away through the smoke and the exploding shells."

SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan junction
Smoke from the SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan junction
SLA artillery barrage in Paranthan.
SLA artillery barrage in Paranthan.
A woman wounded in Paranthan town admitted at Tharmpuram hospital on 17 November 2008
"My elder sister, who has blood pressure, was screaming that she wouldn't make it. My husband was focused on saving our child. I told my sister: look, we may die if we choose to stay here. Do you want to die here or give it a chance to escape? Then, I somehow managed to run away with her. Unable to breath through the smoke, I almost fainted, but managed to reach a Canter vehicle of the TRO [Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation] that took us away from Paranthan."

"I only managed to flee with a bag with my identification documents. Somebody was saying that a nun at the church was wounded, that there was a bowser burning, I don't know.."

Medical authorities at Tharmpuram hospital said they identified the youth killed as M. Sathiyathevan, 24, from Udaiyaarkaddu in Mullaiththeevu.

The seriously wounded sisters were identified as Thushiyanthi Puvanasankaralingam, 28, Thusiyanthaveni Puvanasankaralingam, 20. The other wounded were: M. Kandiah, 64, P. Gnanam, 62, Selvarajah, 31, and another elderly man who was on Paranthan Ki'linochchi road. All the wounded were rushed to Ki'linochchi hospital in ambulances and were transferred to Tharmapuram hospital from there.

Many houses and shops were destroyed in the barrage that also hit the grounds of the Paranthan Hindu College. Many civilians were seen moving from the town in the evening.

Student attendance was below 15% in the school, according to the teachers who were present at the school earlier in the day. All of them were forced to flee the college premises following the barrage in the evening.

The SLA has intensified artillery attacks on the suburbs of Paranthan town during the last 3 days.

Paranthan - Mullaiththeevu Road, Paranthan - Elephant Pass Road, Paranthan Ki'linochchi Road and Paranthan - Poonakari Road were targeted by the artillery and Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) fire by the SLA.

Civilians were seen fleeing Kumarapuram, which has been subjected to several air attacks, following the artillery barrage.

On Sunday, Kugnchup-Paranthan and Kumarapuram settlements were targeted by artillery fire for more than 12 hours from 3:30 a.m. till 7:00 p.m. At least 7 huts were fully destroyed and several houses sustained damage in the barrage. Many civilians who had displaced to Paranthan from Poonakari, Valaippaadu and Vearavil narrowly escaped from the shelling as they sought refuge inside the bunkers. The intense shelling killed livestock, unprotected by the attack.

The artillery attack by the SLA was stepped on Saturday with a continuous barrage between 3:30 and 7:00 p.m.

SLA artillery barrage in Paranthan.
IDP farmers fleeing Paranthan in bullock carts.


SLA artillery barrage in Paranthan.
Shops close to bus station destroyed by SLA artillery attack on 17 November 2008
SLA artillery barrage in Paranthan.
Houses along the roads, destroyed in artillery barrage on 17 November 2008
SLA artillery barrage in Paranthan.
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage in Paranthan
IDPs who fled away from Paranthan at a temporary location.
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday
SLA artillery barrage on Paranthan suburbs on Sunday

 

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