Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Army, Air Force Chiefs deny LTTE allegations

Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka yesterday refuted allegations by the LTTE that civilians in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu are getting killed and injured due to the shelling of the Security Forces.

The Commander said the LTTE is creating a human shield in Wanni and shelling those areas to tarnish the Security Forces' image.

"The LTTE is holding these civilians as a human shield. We have never fired artillery in to the civilian populated areas since these areas are located some 15 Kilometres away from the Forward Defence Lines", the Army Commander told the Daily News.

"The LTTE is shelling these areas and trying to put the blame on us," the Commander added. The pro-LTTE propaganda machine for the past few days accused the Army and the Air Force of targeting the civilians in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

The LTTE Peace Secretariat website also tried to blame the Security Forces for killing and injuring innocent civilians due to shelling into Mullaitivu district hospital quoting a report filed by the Mullaittivu GA.

However the website failed to give the full report issued by the Mullaittivu GA but published only few paragraphs of the report.

The Army Commander said that the Government has already sent a messages to the people entrapped in Wanni to arrive in Government controlled areas with troops advancing some 50 kilometres into the Tiger territory.

"The LTTE is holding them forcibly without allowing them to leave those areas. If they come to our side we are ready to receive them in Vavuniya providing them food and shelter."

According to the Army Commander around 200,000 people are living in Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu districts along with 30,000 displaced civilians and the LTTE is keeping them and providing them military training to be deployed in the FDLs.

Air Force Commander Air Marshall Roshan Gunatilleka also denied the allegation that civilians are being affected due to air strikes saying that they were careful in selecting the LTTE targets.

"We are carefully selecting our targets. The LTTE is trying to stop our air strikes by throwing false allegations," Air Force Commander Air Marshal Gunatilleka added.

The Air Force Commander also said that they are extremely careful when taking targets in civilian populated areas. "Naturally there should be large scale destruction due to our air strikes. It is unrealistic to see small scale damage to properties and injuries to civilians as depicted in the pro-LTTE websites," the Air Force Commander added.

Courtesy : Daily News

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