Sri Lanka’s military-humanitarian operation with timelines
A government with a will to defend the nation combined with the heroic efforts of Sri Lanka’s national army reunited every inch of land under one national flag on 19 May 2009. The LTTE held a shrinking area of 100 metrex 100 metres which was finally taken with the announcement of the killing of Prabakaran on 19 May 2009. Needless to say LTTE terrorism served the purpose of many. For the West terrorism provided a source of exertion over the GoSL and with LTTE now over the West was quick to use IDPs, resettlement, reconciliation as its themes to exert influence over Sri Lanka with UN being source for war crimes/genocide charges lest GoSL did not tow line. These are realities that we cannot be naïve too.
Sri Lanka Army battle successes
|2 Ja nuary||Kilinochchi captured (LTTE political capital)|
|5 January||Elephant Pass captured|
|9 January||A9 reopened|
|14 January||Jaffna captured|
|22 January||Dharmapuram captured|
|24 January||2 LTTE camps south of Pudukudurippu|
|25 January||Mullaitivu captured|
|28 January||Vishwamadu captured|
|3 February||Jungle airstrips with 2km runway & hangar for light aircrafts in Thirivilaru village|
|6 February||Chalai (LTTE now hold access to only 20km (12miles) of coastline in Mullaitivu|
|2 April||Pachchapulmudai (LTTE’s last supply route used for reinforcement and logistic transportation to Puthukkudiriruppu junction)|
|21 April||Troops enter Putumathalan & Amapalavanpokkanai in the no-fire zone|
|25 March||Army capture hideout of Pottu Amman in Iranapalai (LTTE intelligence head)|
Safe Zone declared by Sri Lanka (only for civilians) – no fire zone
1st safe zone: 35sq.km (13sq.miles)
2nd safe zone: 12 Feb 2009 – 12sq.km (7.5mile)
3rd safe zone: 8 May 2009 – 2sq.km long and 1.5sq.km wide
LTTE reactions to Army advances
24 Jan – LTTE blasts dam releasing large volume of water from an irrigation tank in Kalmadu, Mullaitivu & flooding section of A-35 main road at Dharmapuram and Vishwamadu.
8 May – Troops continued their advance further… amidst stiff resistance as LTTE terrorists made their maximum effort to hold the earth bund (embankment) built to obstruct the security forces,” the ministry said. Troops also received minor damages from exploding anti personnel mines,”
LTTE controlled areas shrinking
25 Jan 2009– LTTE confined to a small strip of between 20 kilometres by 15 kilometres (300 square kilometres, 115 square miles)
6 Feb 2009 – LTTE now control area just 200 square kilometres (77 square miles).
7 Feb 2009 – LTTE restricted to area less than 100sq.km (38 sq.miles)
22 Feb 2009 – LTTE shrunk to 73 square kilometres (28 square miles)
25 Feb 2009 – LTTE have lost almost 99 percent of the territory they held
12 Mar 2009 – LTTE restricted to an area of just 35 square kilometres (13 square miles)
26 Mar 2009 – LTTE confined to 21 square kilometres (8 square miles), most of which is a government-declared safe zone
16 April 2009 – LTTE restricted to 20sq.km
22 April 2009 – LTTE confined to 12sq.km (five square miles)
23 April 2009 – LTTE controlled just 10-12 sq.km (4 square miles) of territory
5 May 2009 – LTTE confined to 4 sq.km (1.5 square mile) area in Mullaittivu
18 May 2009 – LTTE now boxed into a 100m x 100m area,”
18 May 2009 – He (Prabakaran) is there and we have surrounded him — it is a 360 degree cordon and he has no escape,” (SL Army)
Note: Government forces were advancing into LTTE held territory at the rate of more than a kilometre (0.6 miles) a day
By 31 March 2009 – LTTE were cornered to a tiny but densely populated strip of coastal jungle measuring just 21 square kilometres (8 square miles), The army says LTTE has less than 500 fighters left, but those that remain appear to be offering stiff resistance.
Breakdown of civilians fleeing LTTE / rescued by SL Army
|170||17 Jan 2009|
|350||19 Jan 2009 (including 50 children)|
|139||4 Feb 2009 to Jaffna|
|10,000||8 Feb 2009 throughout 4 days to Kilinochchi–over 2800 children/3000 women)|
|240||10 Feb 2009 Tamil patients evacuated by ICRC (official figures as of 14 Feb 2009 showed 37,420 Tamils crossing to govt area)|
|745||10 Feb by ferry/ICRC|
|440||16 Feb by ferry/ICRC|
|1000||18 Mar (650 escaping by boat others walking through jungle)|
|1,150||21 Mar (108 left by boat while the others walked through jungle)|
|475||15 Apr wounded evacuated by ICRC|
|5000||20 Apr – biggest single rescue early morning|
|30,000||20 Apr – throughout day|
|115,000||20 Apr to 13 May|
|63,000||14 May to 16 May (total nearly 250,000 saved – GoSL)|
- Official figures as of 17 Feb 2009 showed 35,745 Tamils crossing since 1 Jan
- 5 Mar 2009 – ICRC says since February, it has helped evacuate nearly 2,800 patients and their relatives by sea out of the island’s north-east
- 18 Mar – nearly 40,000 have escaped LTTE
- 21 Mar – from Jan more than 55,000 civilians have escaped LTTE
- 17 Apr – Ron Redmond, spokesman for the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR said more than 63,000 people have fled since the fighting began
- 18 Apr – United Nation says up to 100,000 civilians are trapped in the area in dire humanitarian conditions.”
- 21 Apr – 80,000 people had fled the shrinking patch of territory
- 22 Apr – UN estimated 150,000 civilians in the rebel-held territory before Monday’s exodus
- Around 100,000 people have managed to escape rebel-held territory this week (20-23Apr)
- 24 Apr – UN says 95,000 civilians have fled LTTE but thousands remain trapped
- 26 Apr – UN believes up to 50,000 civilians are trapped in a strip of jungle
- 7 May – government estimates that up to 20,000 civilians are being held in the less than five-square-kilometre (two-square-mile) area
- 12 May – UN say up to 50,000 Tamil civilians hostage kept by LTTE.
- 17 May 2009 – More than 50,000 people have come out of that area in the past three days and with that we have rescued all the civilians held as a human shield by the Tigers,” (SLArmy)
- 17 May 2009 Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said more than 63,000 people had crossed over into government territory in the past three days, raising the total number of civilians who fled the war zone since January to nearly 250,000.
|10||26 Jan inside safe zone (alleged by Gordon Weiss)|
|20||25 Jan inside safe zone (alleged by Gordon Weiss)|
|52||27 Jan in Suranthapuram (alleged by Gordon Weiss)|
|8||9 Feb LTTE suicide attack on refugee camp|
|17||10 Feb LTTE shoot dead fleeing Tamils/wounding 69|
|16||10 Feb during makeshift hospital shelling|
|1||14 Feb grenade thrown at bus carrying civilians/13 wounded|
|4||14 Feb Puttumatalan – elders home shelling/Dr. Satyamurthy|
|10||21 Feb – village of Kirimetiya mainly farmers|
|1||5 Mar – ICRC local worker killed in Chalai|
|3||7 Mar – LTTE shot fleeing Tamils escaping by boat in Mullaitivu coast / 1 civilian seriously injured|
|1||26 Mar (LTTE fired at fleeing civilians)|
|5||12 Apr farmers killed by LTTE in Mahagodayaya village Buttala|
|17||20 Apr suiciding bombing by LTTE to prevent civilians leaving|
|170||May 1st week – claim by Anandasangaree|
17 Feb 2009 – TULF leader Anandasangaree says total deaths for last week was 288 with 766 injured
27 Apr 2009 (AFP) – UN estimates that as many as 6,500 civilians may have been killed
8 May 2009 – TULF leader V. Anandasangari said at least 170 Tamil civilians had been killed and 951 wounded during four days of fighting last week.
12 May 2009 (AFP) – UN says up to 6,500 civilians may have been killed and 14,000 wounded in fighting since January.
LTTE killed by SL Army
|6||8 Feb by SL Navy sinking 2 LTTE boats trying to escape|
|33||5 Mar in Chalai|
|over 100||6 & 7 Mar in Mullaitivu / over 100 injured|
|50||9 Mar in Mullaitivu|
|12||12 Mar in Pudukudurippu|
|33||13 Mar (Fri)|
|32||15 Mar (Sun)|
|24||30 Mar (1 SL Navy officer also killed)|
|13||1 Apr by SL Army|
|44||3 Apr in Anandapuram|
|33||3 Apr by SL Army|
|11||4 Apr by SL Navy|
|7||4 Apr by SL Army|
|111||4 Apr in ground & sea clashes|
|450||(3 to 5th April)|
|10||15 Apr by SL Navy|
|25||29 Apr by SL Navy sank 6 LTTE boats|
|23||1 May by SL Navy 3 LTTE boats sunk|
|10||13 May LTTE suicide boat attack|
|70||17 May trying to escape through lagoon in 6 boats|
|1||18 May Charles Anthony body found in Karayamullavaikkal area|
|3||18 May bodies of Nadeshan, Pulidevan and Ramesh|
|250||18 May (still Prabakaran not found)|
|1||18 May Prabakaran killed|
- Sri Lanka Army claims LTTE admitted 2000 of its fighters died in combat in 2008
- 27 Jan – army claim 2 LTTE killed were senior field commanders.
- 24 Apr – 58 division commanded by Brigadier Silva had killed 5,953 LTTE & wounded another 2,938 since September 2007
- 1 Apr – Prabakaran’s son Charles Anthony injured
Statements by UN Secretary General – Ban Ki Moon
30 Jan 2009
The Secretary General calls upon the (rebel) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in particular, to allow civilians in the conflict zone to move to where they feel most secure, including (government-controlled) areas,”
He called on both Colombo and the LTTE to do all in their power to make this safe passage a reality, and to ensure the protection of civilians in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.”
3 April 2009 – . The Secretary General calls upon the LTTE (Tamil rebels) leadership to allow civilians to leave the conflict area of their own free will,” a statement issued by UN spokeswoman Michele Montas.
The severe restrictions of the LTTE on their freedom of movement violate international law.”
Ban also deplored the forced recruitment of civilians, particularly children” The UN statement said Ban is deeply distressed by continuing reports from the Vanni region of Sri Lanka that civilians are at extreme risk,”
23 Apr 2009 – I intend to immediately despatch a UN humanitiarian team to the no-fire zone,” he told reporters in Brussels
The purpose of this humanitarian team will be to first of all monitor the situation and support the humanitarian assistance and try to do whatever we can to protect the civilian population,”
(oh yeah sure and LTTE will stand and watch them monitor J)
It is critical that this team be allowed into the no-fire zone as soon as possible, and I’m asking for the strong support and speedy assistance of the Sri Lankan government.” (well if the GoSL allowed – what if LTTE doesn’t allow them out? Then what does UN propose to do … bomb LTTE + the civilians???)
Statement by UNHRC Head – Navi Pillay
13 Mar 2009 – Geneva (AFP) –
her statement confirmed 2800 civilians COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED since late January.
Certain actions being undertaken by the Sri Lankan military and by the LTTE (Tamil Tiger rebels) may constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Pillay
We need to know more about what is going on, but we know enough to be sure that the situation is absolutely desperate. The world today is ever sensitive about such acts that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,”
The statement said credible sources had told the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that more than 2,800 civilians might have been killed, including hundreds of children, and more than 7,000 injured since January 20.
(Jan 20 to 13 Mar – 2800 civilians killed says UNHRC/Navi Pillay)
UN Spokesman Gordon Weiss
26 Jan 2009 –
- At least 10 civilians killed on 26 Jan (Mon) inside ‘safety zone’ by the Sri Lanka Military while ‘roughly at least 20 people were killed or wounded over weekend.
- Weiss said he could not say who was responsible for civilian casualties by UN staff in area had witnessed civilians getting hit by artillery shells
- Pro-LTTE Tamilnet website claimed 100 civilians killed by artillery fire on 26 Jan 2009
29 Jan 2009
- “About 350 critically wounded civilians, including 50 children, crossed the front lines,”
4 Feb 2009 (AFP)
- at least 52 civilians killed on (27 Jan) in Suranthapuram
- We don’t know who is responsible or how many shells hit, but we have this report from our staff.”
- The hospital was evacuated after 16hours of shelling including cluster bomb attack.
UN & International statements against LTTE (use of civilians as human shields/hostages)
18 Feb 2009 – UN humanitarian head John Holmes arrived in SL. He arrived earlier in August 2007.
19 Feb 2009 – John Holmes I call on both sides, the government and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), to ensure civilians are left alone,”
I hope to hear no more of shootings of people trying to leave or recruitment of children as soldiers,”
11 Mar 2009 (AFP) – UN accused LTTE of siphoning off food meant for severely malnourished children in June 2007. UN had sent a high energy food supplement known as BP-100” which was found on a LTTE killed in the fighting.
The United Nations deplores that such lifesaving items, destined for severely malnourished children, were diverted from their intended purpose,” the UN said in a statement.
16 Mar 2009 (AFP) – UN said an employee & his teenage daughter forcibly were recruited by LTTE. The forced recruitment included the 16-year-old daughter,” UN called for their immediate release.
The UN said another of its employees recruited by the Tigers two weeks ago has not yet been released.
A month ago, another UN staff member was abducted by LTTE.
The UN has accused LTTE of preventing tens of thousands of civilians from leaving Sri Lanka’s war zone and of shooting and sometimes killing” those who try to escape.
26 Mar 2009 – John Holmes UN’s top humanitarian official, estimated that 150,000 to 190,000 civilians were trapped by the fighting and could not escape, resulting in dozens of deaths each day.
31 Mar 2009 – UN’s top humanitarian official, John Holmes, had asked the government to allow civilian authorities to manage the camps (accordingly Sri Lanka handed camp management over to the resettlement and relief ministry)
15 Apr 2009 – UK& French Foreign Ministers say LTTE are using civilians as human shields & preventing them from leaving conflict zone.
Joint statement by David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner
France and Britain, as two members of the Security Council, continue to support the active engagement by the UN and by other members of the international community on this urgent issue,”
We are deeply concerned that there was no large scale movement of civilians away from the conflict area to safety as we had hoped to see”
16 Apr 2009 – Vijay Nambiar, UNSG’s chief of staff arrives in Sri Lanka.
The secretary-general is doing his utmost to alleviate the situation in Sri Lanka and high-level contacts were continuing to be pursued on that matter,” UN statement
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) did not appear to have responded constructively in allowing civilians to leave,” This is truly disappointing. Civilians must be allowed to leave the area of violence. They must not be used as targets of political or military designs.” UN spokesman Farhan Haq noted.
22 Apr 2009 – We demand that the LTTE immediately lay down arms, renounce terrorism, allow a UN-assisted evacuation of the remaining civilians in the conflict area, and join the political process,” Claude Heller, of Mexico, UN Security Council President.
UNSC President speaking on behalf of 15 UNSC Members said strongly condemned the LTTE, a terrorist organization, for the use of civilians as human shields and for not allowing them to leave the area.”
25 Apr 2009 – John Holmes arrives in Sri Lanka again on a 3 day mission
The top priority remains the preservation of the lives of the tens of thousands of civilians still trapped inside the combat zone,”
I also want to see the people in the camps, to visit UN staff being held there, and to review how the sudden outflow of so many people from the combat zone is being managed.”
We need a new humanitarian pause to get aid and aid workers into the combat zone,”
12 May 2009 – We’re deeply concerned,” on reports that more than 400 civilians had been killed in a no-fire zone” We think that there’s an unacceptably high level of civilian casualties. We’ve repeatedly urged the Tamil Tigers to lay down its arms and allow the civilians to leave the safe zone,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly
12 May 2009 – Joint Statement by UK & US Secretary Clinton and UK Foreign Secretary Miliband expressed their profound concern about the humanitarian crisis in northern Sri Lanka caused by the ongoing hostilities,”
13 May 2009 – United Nations /UN Security Council adopted a non-binding statement that expressed grave concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis in northeast Sri Lanka, in particular the reports of hundreds of civilian casualties in recent days.” For the first time, a text is formally adopted to express our concern over the situation, which explains the absolute condemnation of the LTTE (rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam),” France’s UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, one of the three sponsors of text, said.
14 May 2009 – Washington / US President Obama called on LTTE to lay down arms & GoSL to take greater care for the safety of civilians.
Going forward, Sri Lanka must seek a peace that is secure and lasting, and grounded in respect for all of its citizens,” …….More civilian casualties and inadequate care for those caught in resettlement camps will only make it more difficult to achieve the peace that the people of Sri Lanka deserve.” We have a humanitarian crisis that’s taking place in Sri Lanka, and I’ve been increasingly saddened by the desperate news in recent days”
Without urgent action, this humanitarian crisis could turn into a catastrophe,” So I urge the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and let civilians go. Their forced recruitment of civilians and their use of civilians as human shields is deplorable. These tactics will only serve to alienate all those who carry them out.”
GOSL & SL Army Statements
27 Jan 2009 – Army engaged in taking control over 30km (18mile) coast.
Brig. Nandana Udawatte to AFP reporter in Kumalamunai, south of Mullaitivu (captured on 25 Jan- Sunday) We are moving along the coast as well as to the north-west towards another pocket of Tiger resistance,”
(Udawatte says his troops had killed at least 2000 LTTE in battle to capture Mullaitivu. LTTE had established 3 defence lines to protect Mullaitivu but his men had surprised them by crossing lagoon by boat)
We also suffered casualties in overcoming their obstructions,”
1 Feb 2009 – Defense Ministry LTTE terrorists continued worsening suffering of the thousands of civilians entrapped in the outskirts of Mullaittivu, ignoring the 48-hour ultimatum served for the safe passage of civilians,”
1 Feb 2009 – The next step for us is to liberate the civilians,”….. There will be new operations to get the people to safety now that the Tigers have not allowed civilians to leave,” said military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara.
10 Feb 2009 – The civilians came to an army position carrying the 17 dead and 69 others who had gunshot injuries,” Among those wounded in the attack were 27 women and 11 children
24 Feb 2009 – Battlefield reports indicate intense fighting going on in the area as troops closing in on Puthukkudirirppu,” the defence ministry
24 Feb 2009 – The military is taking more casualties now because they can no longer soften the target using artillery and air attacks,” Defense Secretary told AFP late Tuesday in an interview
26 Feb 2009 – Ground troops have positioned for a final thrust towards the remaining LTTE foothold,” the ministry said.
28 Feb 2009 – Troops who have entered Puthukkudiriruppu town perimeter have found LTTE’s high-tech satellite communication centre, while further advancing into the built-up area amidst stiff resistance from terrorists,”
8 Feb 2009 – As the Mullaittivu battle reached its last phase, the LTTE terrorists made several desperate attempts in vain to infiltrate the military forward defences,” the defence ministry
15 Mar 2009 – Infantrymen further advanced into LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) hiding areas… inflicting heavy damages to terrorists,” (confirms Army is advancing on foot)
18 Mar 2009 – These civilians have revealed the continuation of forcible child recruitment by the LTTE for battle purposes and brutal killings of individuals and families who defy their orders,” the ministry said.
16 April 2009 – the world’s largest hostage rescue operation undertaken by a conventional armed force in modern times.” Defense ministry
18 April 2009 – The LTTE terrorists continued mounting heavy artillery and mortar attacks from the no-fire zone at troops now advancing towards the general area of Vellamullivaikkal,” tdefence ministry said.
20 Apr 2009 – Defence ministry secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa called on the international community and the United Nations to put pressure on Tamil Tiger rebels to lay down arms and surrender.
21 Apr 2009 – The defence ministry has given Velupillai Prabhakaran and his fighters until 0630 GMT Tuesday to surrender. The Sri Lanka army’s 58th division soldiers entered into (the) areas of Putumathalan and Amapalavanpokkanai in the no-fire zone,” the ministry said
26 Apr 2009 – What is the need for a ceasefire when they are running away? They should first lay down arms, surrender and let the people go,” (Gotabaya Rajapakse responding to Pulidevans request for ceasefire)
27 Apr 2009 – Sri Lanka’s military has been ordered to stop using heavy guns and combat aircraft that could cause civilian casualties in the battle against LTTE.
30 Apr 2009 – President Mahinda Rajapakse ruled out halting military offensive.
We have no plans to go for a ceasefire with the Tigers, but they have a little time left to drop their weapons and surrender even though our military operation is at a final stage,” (after arrival of David Miliband & Bernard Kuchner)
President Mahinda said he would not bow to international pressure & promised to rescue Tamil civilians. He accused western governments of being hypocrites. They are trying to preach to us about civilians. I tell them to go and see what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said in a speech in the southern town of Embilipitiya.
If I say we don’t use heavy weapons, that means we don’t. But these foreign envoys are prepared to believe the propaganda of a terrorist organisation,” the president added,
1 May 2009 – Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara says 2 columns of troops have consolidated positions along a strip of coastline in the northeast –
The Tigers have no land escape routes left. We have troops in place to move in at anytime,”
If not for the civilians still trapped inside, we would have gone in by now.”
Troops have to consider the civilians” still trapped in the territory held by LTTE
12 May 2009 – government forces advanced 800 metres (yards) during fighting, cutting deeper into the roughly four square kilometres (1.5 square miles) of coastal jungle in rebel hands.
14 May 2009 – Sri Lanka military accused LTTE of using phosphorus bombs in a last-ditch attempt to save itself. Burns on civilians who fled LTTE areas suggested such weapons had been used by LTTE.
15 May 2009 – Sri Lanka Navy captured wife & 2 children of LTTE Soosai trying to flee by boat.
16 May 2009 – I am proud to announce… that my government, with the total commitment of our armed forces, has in an unprecedented humanitarian operation finally defeated the LTTE militarily,” President Mahinda Rajapakse said in a speech in Jordan.
17 May 2009 – More than 50,000 people have come out of that area in the past three days and with that we have rescued all the civilians held as a human shield by the Tigers,” (SLArmy)
17 May 2009 – there was no bloodbath” during its rescue” of tens of thousands of civilians held hostage by Tamil Tiger rebels. There was no bloodbath as some people feared,” Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters. Everybody has come out safely and they are being looked after by the government.”
Journalists flown over conflict area
24 Apr 2009 – Journalists flown to Kilinochchi & shown large haul of mortars & small arms captured from LTTE.
17 May 2009 – AFP reported that the LTTE leader was still missing. They say he is still there, leading the fight. But we haven’t found anybody, not a single person, who has actually seen him,” a Sri Lankan defence official told AFP on condition of anonymity. A huge fireball was seen inside the jungle area.
LTTE statements – LTTE call for ceasefire/truce
27 Jan 2009 – It is malicious propaganda — our leader is still with us — our leader is giving leadership to our freedom struggle. He is with our people,” ……… In a liberation war it is normal for a force to lose territory and regain the same and achieve freedom,”…… In the past we have withdrawn many times and bounced back to achieve big victories.”
BBC Sinhala quoted Tiger political wing leader B. Nadesen via satellite phone interview
23 Feb 2009 – LTTE was ready to comply with international calls for ceasefire but WOULD NOT lay down arms. The international community must do everything in its power to bring a ceasefire so that the miseries of the Tamils… are brought to an end,” a statement from LTTE.
We also wish to inform the international community that we are ready to discuss, cooperate, and work together in all their efforts to bring an immediate ceasefire and work towards a political settlement,” the LTTE’s political chief B. Nadesan
14 Apr 2009 – LTTE says its ready to negotiate a ceasefire & restart peace talks.
Such a ceasefire should also contain a base for political negotiations,”
GoSL rejected the call and asked LTTE to first lay down arms.
26 Apr 2009 – The ceasefire is purely for humanitarian purposes and the duration will depend on the response of the Sri Lankan government,” Puleethevan told AFP by telephone (LTTE could still call overseas!)
27 Apr 2009 – We made our position very clear to the international community. We will never surrender till our legitimate demands are met,” Puleethevan
LTTE asked to surrender / lay down arms
3 Feb 2009 – US & Donors (Co-Chairs)
Co-Chairs called on the LTTE and the government not to fire out of or into the no-fire zone established by the government or in the vicinity of the hospital in the war-zone where more than 500 patients are receiving care and many hundreds more have sought refuge.
Co-Chairs called on both sides to allow food and medical assistance to reach those trapped by fighting, cooperate with the international Red Cross to facilitate the evacuation of urgent medical cases, and ensure the safety of aid and medical workers.
The LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka must respect international humanitarian law,”
22 Apr 2009 – LTTE chief spokesman Velayudam Dayanidi, better known as Daya Master and another surrender
Tamil witnesses against LTTE
18 Feb 2009 – Trincomalee: Shopkeeper Subramaniam Sudaharan escaped but his 2 teenage (14 & 16) sons were shot dead as family fled from LTTE. Wife was also shot but did not die.
I suffered minor injuries. We are lucky to be able to get out.”
29 Apr 2009 (AFP) – Daya Master & George Master who surrended to SL Army come on tv & make statements denouncing LTTE.
Every point from where people could move away from LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) areas were unfortunately manned by LTTE cadre,” said V.K. Pancharatnam, alias George, a translator and aide to the Tigers’ late political leader S.P. Thamilselvan.
People who tried to leave met with violence,”
Velayudam Dayanidi, better known as Daya Master & LTTE spokesman, said he had been trying to escape from the LTTE for several years.
When the LTTE broke away from the peace talks in 2006, I decided to break away since I believed in negotiations,” he said in the interview,
International Community calls for ceasefire/truce/temporary ‘no fire’
3 Feb 2009 (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton & UK Foreign Minister David Miliband calls for temporary no-fire period” to evacuate casualties and allow in relief.
5 Feb 2009 (AFP) – Canada called for truce to evacuate wounded civilians & for LTTE to lay down arms. We continue to believe that the conflict cannot be resolved militarily and can only be settled through a durable political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of all the people of Sri Lanka,” Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs,
23 Feb 2009 – Brussels/EU foreign ministers issued joint call for an immediate ceasefire. The EU is deeply concerned about the evolving humanitarian crisis and vast number of internally displaced people,”…The EU calls for an immediate ceasefire thereby providing for the establishment of full and unrestricted access” to allow aid to reach a jungle area of northern Sri Lanka as well enable traumatized civilians to leave.
7 April 2009 – UK calls for humanitarian ceasefire. Foreign Secretary David Miliband
Recent reports suggesting that the Sri Lankan military have now captured all the territory outside the so-called ‘no fire zone’ and that fighting is now going on inside the zone, where the civilian population is concentrated, are deeply worrying,”
The need for a humanitarian ceasefire is now even more urgent.”
Nothing excuses the reported use of civilians by the LTTE as a human shield”
9 Apr 2009 – Co-Chairs (representatives of the Tokyo Co-Chairs — the United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway) called for both camps to cease their futile” fighting.
LTTE should permit freedom of movement for the civilians”
12 Apr 2009 – GoSL announce 48hr temporary ceasefire for New Year celebrations
14 Apr 2009 – Brussels/Czech EU presidency statement welcomes the two-day ceasefire,” but remains however deeply concerned about the situation for the civilians trapped in the conflict zone.”
16 Apr 2009 – We call upon the government and military of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers to immediately stop hostilities until the more than 140,000 civilians in the conflict are safely out,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.
18 Apr 2009 – Britain — a permanent member of the Security Council — will ask Nambiar to report immediately to the UN Security Council after his visit,” David Miliband said
25 Apr 2009 – Washington/White House – First statement by President Obama on Sri Lanka. The United States is deeply concerned about the plight of innocent civilians caught up in the conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers and the mounting death toll,”
We call on both sides to stop fighting immediately and allow civilians to safely leave the combat zone,”
We call on both sides to strictly adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law. We are very concerned about reports of violations, and take these allegations very seriously,”
26 Apr 2009 – Foreign Secretary David Miliband, together with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner and Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt, will visit (Sri Lanka) on Wednesday,” Downing Street said in a statement.
29 Apr 2009 – foreign ministers of Britain and France, David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner, arrived in Sri Lanka
16 May 2009 London – British PM Gordon Brown warned Sri Lanka of consequences for its actions” if Colombo did not allow humanitarian agencies access to civilians and end the conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.
Sri Lanka stands on the brink,”…. We have called repeatedly for the violence to cease”…..The humanitarian agencies must be granted access to civilians caught in the crossfire of a dreadful conflict. We are backing UN efforts to secure an orderly end to the conflict. The LTTE must lay down its arms and allow civilians to leave” …Sri Lanka must understand that there will be consequences for its actions”
Statements on No Fire Zone / Safe Zone
13 Mar 2009 – Washington (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed deep concern” over mounting deaths in a government safe zone. Clinton offered immediate and post-conflict reconstruction assistance,”
17 Apr 2009 – Civilians — estimated at more than 140,000 by the United States and more than 100,000 by the United Nations — are holed up in the narrow strip on the northeastern coast initially designated a safe zone
LTTE keeping hospital patient’s hostage (human shields)
28 Jan 2009 (AFP) – LTTE prevented ICRC evacuating some 300 hospital patients inside rebel-held territory. 24 vehicles arranged by ICRC and the United Nations to transport the sick was barred from crossing the frontline
Convoy had been detained by gun-carrying” fighters and that there had been heated argument” with Red Cross and UN officials.
2 Feb 2009 (AFP) – A hospital in LTTE held area (300 sq.km – 110sq.miles in jungle) claiming to house 500 hospital patients shelled (1Feb-Sun) 9 patients claimed dead and 15 injured.
ICRC Colombo Head Paul Castella We’re shocked that the hospital was hit, and this for the second time in recent weeks,”
ICRC did not say WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SHELLING
10 Feb 2009 (AFP) – 16 patients die during shelling on makeshift hospital northern Putumattalan (ICRC did not say who was responsible for shelling)
Statements from Doctors (local & foreign)
29 Jan 2009 (AFP) – more than 250 civilians killed & over 1000 injured since beginning of January 2009 (T. Varatharajah, regional director of health services in Mullaittivu.
“There are dozens of unclaimed bodies lying in the hospital mortuaries because no relatives are coming forward to claim them,” Dr.Varatharajah told AFP by telephone.
14 Feb 2009 (AFP) – 4 civilians killed from artillery shelling near elderly home in Puttumatalan says Dr. T. Satyamurthy but did not say who fired shells. On phone to AFP Dr. Satyamurthy says on 13 Feb 2009 nearly 100 civilians were admitted to makeshift hospital for injuries
25 Apr 2009 – British surgeon working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Paul McMasters, said his team in the state-run hospital in Vavuniya had performed 71 operations in one recent 24-hour period.
One of the patients I have seen is a little girl of about seven or eight who has a severe leg injury. Her elder sister is in the same bed with wounds on her arms and legs,” ….Their sister has burns to her face. Their mother has been killed and their father is in intensive care. With the level of aftercare that we can provide at the moment, he has a fifty-fifty chance of making it, at best.”….It’s so crowded that the nurses cannot physically walk around the ward,” he said, estimating the number of patients in a 45-bed ward at around 320…..There are simply too many people to treat them all. We are not able to save some people because we need to provide more aftercare,”
LTTE attack bus carrying civilians
14 Feb 2009 (AFP) – LTTE threw grenade at bus transporting civilians out of Puliyankulam killing 1 woman and injuring 13 (4 women & 2 girls with gunshot injuries)
LTTE block UN staff leaving war zone
22 Jan 2009 – UN accused LTTE of preventing UN local staff & their families leaving North with convoy that had brought food and emergency supplies.
The UN calls on the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) to meet their responsibilities and immediately permit all UN staff and dependents to freely move from this area,”
LTTE suicide attacks
9 Feb 2009 (AFP) – LTTE suicide bomber kills 20 soldiers and 8 civilians in refugee camp near Vishwamadu.
US condemned attack This apparent effort by the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) to discourage Tamils from leaving the conflict area killed and wounded many Tamil civilians.”
21 Feb 2009 – LTTE suicide attack in Colombo by plane
10 Mar 2009 (AFP) – 15 killed and 60 wounded including 2 ministers in suicide attack by LTTE in Akuressa, South Sri Lanka at a mosque function.
Telecommunications minister Mahinda Wijesekara and Cultural Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena
17 Feb 2009 (AFP) – LTTE intensified conscripting child soldiers as young as 14. LTTEE has recruited more than 6000 child soldiers since 2002.
We have clear indications that the LTTE has intensified forcible recruitment of civilians and that children as young as 14 years old are now being targeted,” said Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF’s chief in Sri Lanka
17 Apr 2009 – UNICEF is calling for a ceasefire and for a humanitarian pause which allows humanitarian workers to access the conflict zone and for civilians who are trapped in this zone … to be allowed to seek refuge in secured zones,” said Veronique Taveau, spokeswoman UNICEF
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it had received 300 acres of land from the government to set up, by the end of the week, a camp for 42,000 people.
16 Jan 2009 ICRC reported massive displacement”
Repeated displacements, often involving the loss of their personal belongings, have taken a toll,” said Paul Castella, the ICRC’s head of delegation.
Tens of thousands of displaced civilians are concentrated in an area so small that there are serious concerns for their physical safety and living conditions, in particular in terms of hygiene,”
30 Jan 2009 We are negotiating with both parties to the conflict to ensure safe passage for more patients that need urgent medical attention,” Sarasi Wijeratne, spokeswoman for ICRC told AFP
17 Jan 2009
Tens of thousands of displaced civilians are concentrated in an area so small that there are serious concerns for their physical safety and living conditions, in particular in terms of hygiene,”
5 Mar 2009 – One of our male workers was killed on Wednesday afternoon by shrapnel,” (ICRC local worker – Vadivel Vijayakumar killed in Chalai)
HRW Brad Adams on Civilians
29 Jan 2009 (AFP) –
The situation for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable civilians trapped in the Wanni war zone (in Mullaittivu district) is becoming increasingly dangerous,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Both the government and the LTTE need to take urgent action to prevent large-scale civilian deaths.”
13 Mar 2009 – Human Rights Watch accused the LTTE of holding civilians as human shields,” preventing people from leaving the areas under their control and forcibly recruiting children to fight the army.
Amnesty International – Yolanda Foster
“People displaced by the conflict are experiencing acute shortages of humanitarian aid, especially food, shelter and medical care,”
“There has been no food convoy in the area since 16 January.”
“Preventing civilians from accessing medical care constitutes a war crime.” (who was preventing? LTTE)
28 Mar 2009 – LTTE were holding civilians hostage and were reported to have deliberately attacked civilians that have tried to escape from areas under their control.”
Pro-LTTE rallies abroad
19 Mar 2009 (AFP) – Pro-LTTE rallies in Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, US.
Self-immolations in Tamil Nadu, UK & Switzerland.
Demonstrators draping themselves with LTTE flags!
The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is a banned organisation in some of these countries. We are surprised these countries allow LTTE sympathisers to use the LTTE flags” (GoSL)
7 Apr 2009 – UK police action on pro-LTTE demonstrators in Westminster Bridge.
13 Apr 2009 – Syndey/Australia – about 300 pro-LTTE protestors stage rally outside Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s official Sydney residence calling for a lasting ceasefire in Sri Lanka. Protester Geetha Mano
21 Apr 2009 – Ottawa/Canada – up to 30,000 protestors blocked road for 15th day in a row demanding Canada stop GoSL ending LTTE. Canada has banned LTTE in 2006 and refused to meet protestors.
27 Apr 2009 London – 6 Tamils arrested for smashing windows in Indian High Commission and causing damage outside Sri Lanka’s High Commission
11 May 2009 London – British police arrest 45 Tamil protestors for blocking traffic outside Parliament. Bharathy Maheswaram
India on alert against LTTE
21 Mar 2009 – Thiruvananthapuram/Kerala – India tightened security in 3 major airports in Kerala following threats by LTTE sympathizers.
9 Apr 2009 – Indian security warn Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and family of being targets of LTTE ahead of Indian election.
24 Apr 2009 – India’s Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan flew to Colombo re civilians trapped. The only lasting solution will come from political efforts to address the real concerns of the Tamil people, giving them lives of dignity within the Sri Lankan mainstream,”
6 May 2009 India – Sonia Gandhi, leader of Congress Party cancelled election rallies in Tamil Nadu due to security risks. Her husband former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi was killed by LTTE in Tamil Nadu in 1991.
18 May 2009 – We also want an authentication of Pottu Amman’s death,” (Indian Govt)
International Action against LTTE
28 Jan 2009 – Washington
Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam, 40, and Sahilal Sabaratnam, 29, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn, New York to conspiring to purchase guided anti-aircraft missiles for LTTE during trial in a US district court
Co-defendants Sathajhan Sarachandran, 29, and Nadarasa Yogarasa, 54, pleaded guilty to similar charges.
Thanigasalam, Sabaratnam and Sarachandran face a 25-year sentence to life in prison, while Nadarasa faces up to 30 years prison.
The four defendants were arrested on Long Island, New York in August 2006 after three from the group were accused of negotiating with an undercover FBI agent to buy and export military equipment for the Tamil Tigers.
28 Jan 2009 UK – Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar (AC SHanthan) head of United Tamil Organisation charged with 5 offences by Kingston Crown Court in London in Britain (before UK banned LTTE in 2001)
17 Apr 2009 – London – Kingston Crown Court convicted Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, of coordinating supplies of material to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Jurors failed to reach verdicts on three other charges against Chrishanthakumar, also known as AC Shanthan, plus one charge against another accused, Jegatheeswaran Muraleetharan.
He was also convicted of receiving documents for the purpose of terrorism,
2 Apr 2009 – USAID donated $15m (Rs1.7 billion) worth of food aid for Sri Lanka to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP)
The food scheduled to arrive in June 2009, consisted of wheat, lentils and vegetable oil, will be distributed to a large number of displaced and conflict-affected people in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.
It would feed 300,000 people over 4 months.
USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn said the donation represents about 21% of the total food aid that WFP has called for in 2009 to meet the needs of refugees and other conflict-affected people in Sri Lanka.
Role of Norway
2 April 2009 – Sri Lanka summoned Norway’s envoy (Tore Hattrem) to complain about the Nordic country’s alleged role in arranging a telephone conversation between LTTE’s KP and UN John Holmes.
13 April 2009 – Sri Lanka stripped Norway of role as broker in Sri Lanka’s peace process. The government of Sri Lanka perceives that there is no room for Norway to act as (peace) facilitator,”
Calls for Political Solutions
6 Jan 2009 UK High Commission Colombo issues statement by Lord Malloch-Brown, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government and Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development.
This development makes it even more urgent that all parties achieve progress on setting out a political solution that addresses the legitimate concerns of all communities,”
We remain concerned about the humanitarian impact of the conflict and call on all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.”
Interfering in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs
12 Feb 2009 (AFP) Sri Lanka rejected UK appointing special envoy Des Browne to SL accusing London of interfering into Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.
30 Apr 2009 – 400 civilians out of 3000 returned to their homes (confirmed UNHCR)
This is the first time in years that internally displaced people are able to return home in the Mannar district,” (UNHCR)
ABSURDITY OF STATEMENTS by foreign envoys/international media & rights groups:
Claims by either side cannot be verified as human rights groups, diplomats and independent journalists are not allowed to report freely from the conflict zone.”
Battlefield casualty claims are impossible to verify as journalists are not allowed to travel freely in the area.
tens of thousands” was a chorus used in virtually all of the statements issued by UN/ICRC & international media. None of them could give any definite number or detail.
When LTTE does not allow their own people to leave and ICRC local staff have also died or had been held hostage by LTTE – does the foreign elements think that reporters, rights groups and diplomats will be allowed inside for them to count the dead, monitor situation or ask questions from LTTE while engaged in hostilities? These are statements just issued for lack of any practical thinking!
Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse formally announced end of LTTE Terrorists& their ground force on 19 May 2009
We have successfully ended the war,” said Defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse
Prabhakaran’s body is among the 300 terrorist bodies that we captured,” Army chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said on state television. Now the entire country is declared rid of terrorism.”
Sadly those that supported LTTE are very much back in action firstly to take revenge for ending LTTE and secondly as this affords a new opportunity to keep GoSL under their influence & control.
Shenali D Waduge