Ceasefire to evacuate civilians - LTTE
[TamilNet, Friday, 26 May 2000, 17:16 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers will observe a temporary ceasefire between 10am and 10pm Saturday May 27 to facilitate the evacuation of civilians to safe areas from battlezeones of the Thenmarachchi division of the Jaffna peninsula, the LTTE said Friday in a statement from its London offices. The UNHCR is to assist the evacuation, the Tigers said. Over 40 civilians have been killed and 150 wounded by indiscriminate shelling and bombing by the Sri Lankan armed forces, the LTTE statement said, adding that the Sri Lankan military was also preventing civilians from moving to areas of safety.
Following is the full text of the press release:
"The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will observe a temporary cessation of hostilities tomorrow (27.5.00) between 10a.m and 10p.m to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from the battle zones of the Thenmarachchi division of the Jaffna peninsula to safe areas. The resident representatives of the UNHCR have agreed to assist the civilian population to move to designated regions of safety. The UNHCR has also requested the Sri Lankan armed forces to cease armed activities in Thenmarachchi during this specified period to facilitate the civilian evacuation.
"The Sri Lankan armed forces have unleashed a continuous barrage of indiscriminate artillery shelling in the civilian areas of the Jaffna peninsula liberated by the Tamil Tiger forces. Kfir combat aircrafts have also been systematically bombing residential areas. So far 40 Tamil civilians have been killed and over 150 persons injured in these retaliatory aerial and artillery bombardments.
"Ever since the offensive campaign began for the liberation of Jaffna, the Tamil Tigers have been advising the Tamil civilian masses in the combat zones to move to secure areas to avoid being caught in the crossfire. But the Sri Lankan troops have adopted an inhuman policy of using civilians as human shields and prevented their mobility by imposing curfew regulations. Furthermore, the armed forces have continuously attacked civilian built up areas in Jaffna under the control of the LTTE to deliberately cause civilian casualties.
"The LTTE has also approached the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organisations in the peninsula to help to evacuate civilians to safe areas."