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| Civilian Exodus Begins at Thoppigala |
Friday, 26 January 2007 - 6:56 PM SL Time
Thousands of civilians arrived in POLWATTA from LTTE active THOPPIGALA and KIRAN, west of the BATTICALOA and VALACHCHENAI main road. Over 2000 civilians have already reached POLWATTA during the last three days. The exodus from THOPPIGALA is significant as there were no confrontations between the Security Forces and the LTTE in the area.
Security Forces are providing these people with basic necessities until they are channeled to IDP camps. These people have told the Security Forces that they were frightened of being held forcibly as a human shield by the LTTE in THOPPIGALA and KIRAN as well. The civilian exodus from these areas clearly indicates the impact of LTTE atrocities on innocent Tamil civilians. They are dumping the self proclaimed `sole representative` of Tamils in numbers and seeking protection from the Security Forces whom the LTTE refers to as oppressors of Tamils.
LTTE terrorists were thrown out of VAKARAI, KOMATHALAMADU, KADIRAWELI and VERUGAL north of BATTICALOA after months of fighting between the Security Forces and the LTTE. Civilians were a key factor that helped the LTTE to hold ground for so long. Civilians who crossed over to cleared areas revealed how they were forcibly held as a cover against retaliation by the Security Forces. With the intention of discrediting the Security Forces, the LTTE even went to the extent of moving their heavy artillery guns closer to civilian settlements thereby inviting retaliation by troops on civilians. Further, they booby trapped and mined the terrain to prevent people from leaving the area. Civilians were forced to move logistics and build bunkers and assist the LTTE to launch attacks on troops. Aid meant for civilians such as sacks of rice and other dry rations were used to feed LTTE cadres and roof bunkers instead.
LTTE harassments in the East have instilled fear in Tamils in other terrorist active areas. Thus they are arriving in numbers to cleared areas seeking protection and basic necessities deprived to them by the LTTE in other areas.