Will assist Pallai evacuation - Commander

[TamilNet, Monday, 10 April 2000, 13:16 GMT]
The Operational Headquarters of Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence said in a press release today that the Jaffna Security Forces (SF) Commander Maj.Gen Chula Senaviratne has arranged transport to move out civilians who are willing to leave their villages from the war zone near the Elephant Pass garrison in Jaffna's southern sector.

The MoD release said that the Jaffna SF commander briefed the ICRC, UNHCR, Save the Children Fund and the Medicins Sans Frontiers on the situation this morning.

The following are excerpts of the MoD communique -

"Mr.J.F Dixon, Head of Office of UNHCR Jaffna in a letter dated 8 April 2000 to Maj.Gen. Chula Senaviratne, security forces Commander Jaffna says that he and his staff had visited areas in Kilaly where they met displaced persons who confirmed that they had been permitted to move on following a screening process. Further he added that the displaced persons had received dry rations and had not been intimidated in anyway. He also says that there were around 120 families who have stayed back in the proximity of the Kilaly Army camp on their own accord."

"Security Forces Commander Jaffna with the assistance of the District Sectary (sic) (Government Agent) of Jaffna has arranged Divisional Secretary of Palaly and the Grama Sevakas of Masar, Soranpattu, Thambagamam, Vannankerny,Tyharmakerny, Arsakerny (sic) and Mulliyadi to visit the families and find out whether they want to come out or to stay in the area. 624 families agreed to leave the area and 173 opted to stay back".

The release added that the civilians would be moved out with their personal belongings to welfare centres established by the Sri Lankan government.


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