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UAV footage of LTTE firing on fleeing civillians

I have looked previously at concerns about civilian casualties during the first part of the conflict. Since allegations of civilian casualties increased astronomically during 2009, it will be salutary to address these separately.

11. Concerns were expressed in January 2009 that civilians were falling victim on a large scale to army attacks. Whereas in the last seven months of 2008 only 78 civilian deaths were alleged by Tamilnet, in January 2009 alone there were allegations of 689 civilian deaths.

The largest allegation in this regard was on January 26th when there was an allegation that more than 300 people died. There was another allegation on the same day of more than 100 civilians killed. Both allegations refer to the safety zone, and it is possible that the references are to the same incident.

These allegations occurred a day after the Bishop of Jaffna said he would be ‘urgently requesting the Tigers not to station themselves among the people in the safety zone and fire their artillery-shells and rockets at the Army. This will only increase more and more the death of civilians thus endangering the safety of the people.’ This was also the time when the UN Resident Coordinator, having first thought the army was firing into the safety zone, sent a text message to say that most of the firing came from the Tigers.

Letter from the Bishop of Jaffna - January 2009

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Rajiva Wijesinha

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