Bishop says 500 civilian casualties in Madduvil

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 June 2000, 19:41 GMT]
The Bishop of the Catholic Church in Mannar Rt.Rev.Dr. Rayappu Joseph said in appeal sent to the heads of foreign missions in Colombo that there were more than five hundred civilian casualties due to bombing and shelling by Sri Lankan security forces in the Madduvil area, close to Chavakachcheri in Jaffna. "I am given to understand that the attitude of the armed forces is that 'it is better to kill the people than allow them to go into the LTTE controlled areas' the Bishop states in the appeal.

The following is the full text of the Mannar bishop's appeal. The appeal is dated June 9 but was released to the press today.

"Situation of the war area of Chavakachcheri-Kodikamam, Jaffna.

"I wish to express my concern regarding the state of the civilians in the above mentioned war area. The Parish Priest of Chavakachcheri Rev.Fr.Ananthakumar having moved out of this trapped area with 76 families to Koanavil in Vanni via Sangupiddy- Pooneryn has contacted me from Madhu. He described the pathetic situation of the people being mercilessly made victims of this senseless war. Since they are trapped, they have no way of escaping from this plight.

"Few have risked their lives amidst Sri Lankan Army's heavy artillery shelling and aerial bombings to move out into safe area. This exodus takes five to six days when they cross over to Vanni via Sangupiddy-Pooneryn. In the meantime quite a number have been killed and I am given to understand that the attitude of the armed forces is that " it is better to kill the people than allow them to go into the LTTE controlled areas".

"I am also informed that people who are compelled to live within the bunkers are helpless and starving. According to this source the number of civilian casualties in the Madduvil area is more than 500. This type of massacre is witnessed to be extending to other areas of Thenmarachchi as well. The people of Meesalai, Sarasalai and Manthuvil have sought refuge in school buildings. There are 157 inmates, all sickly and helpless, housed in the Kaithadi Home for the Elders. Unfortunately, the NGOs are not permitted by the security forces to move into these areas.

"Hence, I appeal to Your Excellency to prevail upon the Government and the LTTE to rectify the alarming situation at least by permitting the NGOs like the UNHCR and ICRC to reach those areas with food and medicine and if necessary to evacuate those victims from there in a situation of temporary cease fire."

 

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