2ND LEAD (ADDED LTTE COMMENT)

SLA troops enter vacated Vaharai hospital

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 January 2007, 12:23 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army sources in Colombo claimed Friday afternoon that their troops have entered the Vaharai hospital without facing any resistance from the Tigers. Liberation Tigers Military Spokesman, verifying that the Tigers had relocated their positions in Panichchankerni where the SLA had obstructed the land route to Vaharai village, said LTTE had no combatants in Vaharai village where the hospital is located. Meanwhile, thousands of civilians who crossed through Kadjuwatte exit and entry point were escorted to Mankerni Catholic school and provided midday meal.

The civilians, most of them internally displaced several times in the SLA besieged Vaharai region, said they fled Vaharai hospital, fearing onslaught, before the offensive units of the Sri Lankan troopers managed to enter the hospital area. Almost all the civilians had sought refuge at Vakarai village and the surrounding areas.

Civilians at Mankerni school further said more IDPs were waiting to cross over the entry exit point.

ICRC and UNICEF officials were present at the entry/exit point.

The Government Agent of Batticaloa has already made arrangements at 4 places in Valaichenai area for displaced people from Vaharai.

All divisional secretaries were summoned at the District Secretariat to coordinate the arragements for the temporary settlement of the displaced people.

Batticaloa district is struggling with more than 70,000 internally displaced people following the Sri Lankan military operation against the LTTE territories in Trincomalee and Batticaloa.

 

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