Tigers say SLN using civilians as human shield

[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 September 2001, 09:36 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers urged civilians in Jaffna to travel only in ships flying the ICRC's flag or the flags of other recognised international humanitarian organisation in a leaflet issued Saturday in the northern peninsula.

The leaflet said that civilians should not travel in the Lanka Muditha, a ship chartered by Sri Lanka's Commissioner General Essential Services (CGES) as it is used by the Sri Lanka Navy to carry troops. Sri Lanka's widely regarded defence correspondent, Mr. Iqbal Athas, reported Sunday "Very often troops are transported by the Ceylon Shipping Corporation vessel Lanka Muditha."

'MV Pride of South' was attacked by the Sea Tigers while carrying 1200 troops to Jaffna on Sunday 16 September. Two Dvora gunboats of the Sri Lanka Navy were sunk and another two were heavily damaged in the sea battle.(Photo: Sri Lanka Army)
The LTTE leaflet said that the SLN is frequently using civilians travelling to Jaffna as human shields to protect Sri Lanka army troops that are also taken on board the Lanka Muditha. The leaflet also said that the SLN is contravening the Geneva Conventions.

'MV Pride of South' that was attacked by the Sea Tigers while carrying 1200 troops in the seas off Jaffna on 16 September was also chartered by the CGES.

Meanwhile heavy fighting between the Sea Tigers and the Sri Lanka Navy which began in the early hours of the morning Sunday continued until afternoon, military sources in Jaffna said.

A SLN Dvora Fast Attack Craft (FACs) was seriously damaged in the fighting, the sources said. Four LTTE boats were destroyed, the sources added.

The fighting erupted when the Sea Tigers engaged a group of SLN craft 57 kilometres off the Mullaithivu coast, the sources said.

The Liberation Tigers have not commented on the latest sea battle.

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