Government concealing losses - UNP

[TamilNet, Friday, 05 November 1999, 11:03 GMT]
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told TamilNet today that its delegates are making arrangements to hand over 36 bodies of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops and 5 Liberation Tigers to their respective commanders, as opposition politicians accused the Sri Lankan government of concealing losses.

Harsha Gunawardene the spokesman for the ICRC said that the handing over of bodies will probably take place tomorrow.

The Tigers' bodies will be transported by boats from Pallimunai in Mannar to Illppaikadavai in the western coast of Kilinochchi district.

He further said that the ICRC is in contact with both the LTTE and the SLA on the matter.

NGO sources said that the SLA was refusing permission for aid workers to accept bodies of Sri Lankan soldiers from the LTTE.

The Tigers say over 1000 SLA soldiers were killed in the past few days in heavy fighting in areas to east of the Vavuniya-Mankulam A9 highway. The SLA also says it has inflicted heavy casualties on the LTTE.

Meanwhile, the main Sri Lankan opposition United National Party was quoted in the independent press today as saying the Sri Lankan government was planning to gain "political mileage" by not accepting the bodies of soldiers who died at Oddusuddan and Nedunkerni and listing the casualties as "missing-in-action."

"This is a national disaster. The government must tell the truth to the kith and kin of these soldiers who are waiting anxiously to receive some information about their beloved ones," UNP spokesman MP Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku was quoted in the Island newspaper as saying.


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