Jaffna refugees cross the bar

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 April 2000, 12:22 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army (SLA) allowed 1643 civilians to leave Kilali in Jaffna where they were blocked from proceeding to safer parts of the peninsula by the security forces since Sunday, April 2, amidst protests by human rights organisations and Tamil politicians. The released refugees began leaving the Kilali military encampment in the off monsoon shower from about 11 a.m. this morning.

The refugees who were allowed to come through today were those who had stayed on in Kilali after the army refused to let more than five thousand who fled the war zone on March 2 and those who opted to find shelter in Pulopalai, mostly at St.Peter's Church in the village.

Other are still held up in villages near the war zone where they went to find temporary shelter until the SLA's permission to pass through Kilali was obtained.

The only route linking the southern sector of Jaffna with the rest of the peninsula is through Kilali. The main highway, the A9, has been cut off by the Liberation Tigers to deny the Elephant Pass garrison its Main Supply Route (MSR).

The civilians had fled their villages near the Elephant Pass garrison on the isthmus of Jaffna peninsula where the Sri Lanka army and the Liberation Tigers have been locked in fierce battles and daily artillery duels since March 27.


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