SLA shells PTK hospital, 9 killed, 15 wounded
[TamilNet, Monday, 02 February 2009, 02:14 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) shelled Puthukkudiyiruppu (PTK) hospital Sunday night killing nine civilians, including patients and their family members in the ward. More than 15 civilians were injured. The indiscriminate attack on the hospital has caused panic and tension among the hundreds of wounded civilians at the hospital. The shelling has come despite repeated calls from the medical authorities not to fire shells on the civilian medical facility and within a few hours of a public statement from the ICRC, which said it was shocked by the shelling on hospital twice in recent days. Meanwhile, a source at Vavuniyaa District Secretariat told TamilNet Monday that it was a premeditated massacre as the military was given instructions by the SL Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to isolate hospitals from civilian access by artillery barrage.
Family members of a victim at hospital
"Three artillery barrages struck a hospital in Sri Lanka’s chaotic war zone, slamming into its pediatrics ward and its women’s wing and killing nine patients," Associated Press report said quoting ICRC.
Earlier, the Sri Lankan military commander of Vanni SF-HQ had instructed the Government Agent of Mullaiththeevu district to shift the hospital to safety zone, giving an ultimatum to the officials. However, as the attacks continued, the ICRC and UN officials had to seek refuge at the hospital in PTK.
Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital has also been the place of refuge for the ICRC officials and the UN staff.
Article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that the civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a signatory to the First, Second and Third Geneva Conventions and it ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, by accession to it, on 23.02.1959.
Traumatized chiildren at hospital ward
Civilians dead inside the ward