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In Sri Lanka, Tens Of Thousands Escape, But More Remain In Danger

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Author Topic: In Sri Lanka, Tens Of Thousands Escape, But More Remain In Danger  (Read 89 times)
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« on: April 23, 2009, 07:37:37 am »


On Wednesday, at France's urging, the U.N. Security Council met for an informal briefing on the situation.

"The Security Council members, we expressed our deep concern about the humanitarian situation ... and the plight of the civilians trapped within the conflict area," Mexican U.N. Ambassador Claude Heller told reporters after the meeting.

In a summary of the closed-door meeting, he said council members "strongly condemned" the LTTE for failing to release the civilians.

Council diplomats said China, Russia and others had opposed the idea of a formal discussion of the Sri Lankan war, viewing it instead as an internal matter for the Sri Lankans.

The United Nations estimates tens of thousands are inside the remaining area, while the International Committee of the Red Cross has said at least 50,000 remain in "catastrophic" conditions.

The people who have fled have been on foot for days, and stuck in the war zone with minimal food, water or medical care, aid agencies said.

Pictures released by the government showed scores of people carrying their belongings on their backs, and others helping the sick or elderly to move.

One showed a woman giving birth inside a bus carrying her to a refugee camp, with two midwives helping deliver the child.

A former rebel spokesman, Daya Master, was being interrogated after he became the most senior rebel to surrender so far, Nanayakkara said.

Surrender is an act considered a betrayal to the cause and leader Prabhakaran's dictate that followers wear cyanide vials to be taken in case of capture.

Sri Lanka has ruled out any further truces, while the LTTE has said it will never surrender its fight to build a separate state for Tamils, which started in the early 1970s and erupted into a full civil war in 1983.
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