Vavuniya residents said leaving
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 November 1999, 10:29 GMT]
Aid workers said today that civilians in the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) garrison town of Vavuniya have begun leaving following several broadcasts in Tamil and Sinhala by the Voice of Tigers radio urging civilians to move to safer areas ahead of a possible LTTE offensive. The VoT is designating specific areas for the civilians to move into.
Residents said the announcement was as follows:
"For safety reasons, we are urgently requesting civilians living in Vavuniya to leave the area."
"As the Liberation Tigers' forces are approaching the town, we request that civilians leave town and head towards Aasikulam, Rasendrankulam and Madhu areas.
"Civilians living in Kovilkulam, Moonrumurippu, Samalankulam, Maruthankulam, Iratperiyakulam and Sinnapputhukulam are requested to head to Aasikulam.
"People from Vavuniya town centre, Pandarikulam, Katkuli, Thekankadhu, Thonikkal, Vairavar Puliyankulam, Pattanichchi Puliyankulam, Veppankulam, Nelukkulam and Thandikulam are requested to go towards Rasendrankulam.
"We think you, as civilians, may have to face hardship as a result of this.
"As [Armyy] camps are situated close to residential areas, we fear our attack may cause harm to our people.
"We respectfully request that you bear the inconvenience and evacuate to safe areas."
The LTTE said in a press release over the weekend that its forces are in a position to threaten the town which lies to the south of the vast Vanni region, large tracts of which fell to the LTTE last week.
In Operation 'Unceasing Waves 3', the LTE overran several key SLA-held towns, in a few days, driving Sri Lankan forces into the Vavuniya area.
Heavy exchanges of artillery have been reported from areas to the north of Vavuniya.
The Sri Lanka Army has been sending extra troops to Vavuniya to bolster the towns defences. Troops are being pulled out of the eastern province, said sources in the eastern port town of Trincomalee.
Meanwhile, sources close to the LTTE in Europe also said today the Tigers are attacking SLA positions in Manal Aru (Weli Oye) and Mannar regions, which lie to the east and west of Vavuniya respectively.