13th anniversary of Navaali church massacre observed

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 July 2008, 09:49 GMT]
Thousands of family members and friends participated in the 13th memorial mass and prayers held Wednesday in Navaali St. Peter's Church and Navaali Chinnakk Kathirkaama Murukan Koayil in remembrance of the 147 persons including women and children killed 9 July 1995 when Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) fighter jets dropped thirteen bombs on people who had sought safety in the above places of worship.

The SLAF attack on civilians was a part of the "Leap Forward" offensive launched by the Sri Lankan government which left more than 360 seriously injured.

Special mass and special worship to mark the above day are held annually in Navaali St. Peter's Church and Navaali Chinnakk Kathirkaama Murkan Koayil.

More than 40 volunteers of various humanitarian organizations and government servants including two Grama Sevakas(Village Officers), Miss. Hemalatha Selvarajah of Navaali North and Philipuppillai Saveeriarpillai from Chillaalay looking after the needs of the people who had sought safety were killed in the Leap Forward offensive by Sri Lanka Army (SLA).

Thousands of Tamil civilians fled from their villages in Valikaamam division when the Sri Lanka Army supported by Sri Lanka Air Force launched a military operation named "Leap Forward" on 9th July 1995 early morning around 5:00 a.m.

People ran for safety. As the bombing and artillery fire became fierce, people fled from their dwellings by foot, cart and push cycles leaving their belongings. Several civilians, old and young, were injured in the aerial attack and some died on their way.

The SLA launched indiscriminate bombing and artillery attack on residential areas, government offices, temples and other buildings in the Valikaamam southwest, Valikamam west, Valikaamam south and Valikaamam north divisions.

 

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