Navaali massacre of 147 Tamil civilians remembered

[TamilNet, Saturday, 10 July 2010, 06:11 GMT]
Relatives of the victims and Navaali Church organization observed Friday the fifteenth death anniversary of 147 Tamil civilians including men, women and children who were killed in the indiscriminate bombing by the Sri Lanka Air Force bombers and artillery attack by the Sri Lanka Army on Navaali St Peters Church on 9 July 1998, sources in Jaffna said. Hemalatha Memorial Organization set up in remembrance of Hemalatha, a Village Officer who was killed in the bombing, was jointly engaged in observing the memorial event, the sources added.

Thousands of Tamil civilians fled from their villages in Valikaamam division when the SLA supported by the Sri Lanka Air Force launched a military operation named “ Leap Forward” on 9th July 1995 early morning around 5:00 a.m.

The SLA launched indiscriminate bombing and the SLA artillery attack on residential areas, government offices, temples and other buildings in the Valikaamam southwest, west, south and north divisions. People ran here and there for safety. As the bombing and artillery fire became fierce, people fled from their dwellings by foot, cart and push cycles leaving their belongings. Several civilians, old and young, were injured in the aerial attack and some died on their way. Because of economic embargo at that time no motor transport was available to take the injured to the hospital, sources said.

Few hundred people sought refuge in the Navaali St Peters Church and Navaali Murukamoorthy Temple.

Around 5:45 p.m. on 9th July, 1995 SLA bombers, which came from Jaffna town, dropped about thirteen bombs on these two temples killing 147 innocent civilians on the spot. Both temples were completely damaged and people inside were trapped. Several lost their limbs. More than four hundred people were injured in the attack.

Of the dead 48 were volunteers who were helping the refugees providing water and food, sources said.

 

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