FROM INSIDE THE WAR ZONE: The Defence Ministry said the LTTE is preparing for the worst slaughter of civilians with the systematic use of hostages as a weapon of mass destruction.
“Substantial evidence has surfaced from the battlefront that LTTE terrorists are using white phosphorous as a weapon in reprehensible attacks at both advancing security forces and hostages fleeing from the LTTE,” it said. “According to reliable ground information received, [the] terrorists are reportedly laying large quantities of white phosphorus surrounding makeshift camps of hostages within the narrow strip of land it still holds, and are burying improvised bombs that would ultimately result in a humanitarian catastrophe, with the bomb explosions leading to phosphorous burns on both civilians and advancing troops,” the Ministry said.
The military said during extended search and clear operations in Karayanmullivaikkal area — where they recovered a 55-ft long suicide boat — they uncovered two more suicide boats and two armour-plated unicorn vehicles. Meanwhile, the U.N. has called on Colombo to expedite the screening of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) now staying at dozens of government camps in the North.
The government wants to screen all entrants to separate non-combatant civilians from former LTTE fighters — a process to which the U.N. has only partial access, at Omanthai, the final screening point before Vavuniya.
“Expediting the screening and separation of former combatants from non-combatant civilians would permit a more rapid release of IDPs from the camps and would allow them to enjoy freedom of movement, including an option of staying with host families outside the camps,” said Gordon Weiss, a spokesman for the U.N.
Meanwhile, the LTTE on Thursday called upon the international community to protect civilians from the ongoing carnage by taking whatever measure required. “The LTTE is ready to engage with the international community in its actions to bring an end to the humanitarian crisis, a statement by the Tigers said.
The catastrophic situation has been made worse by the acute shortage of food and medicine, it said. “Local doctors who are trying to work in these hospitals have decided to hand the hospitals over to the ICRC in the hope that under ICRC management the hospitals may be spared from bombardment.”