Tamil Rebels Accuse Lankan Army of Carnage

A LTTE spokesman has blamed the Sri Lankan government for shelling civilians and causing bloodbath during its military offensive in the north. However, the government has denied the charge, accusing the Tamil guerillas of targeting civilians.

According to the figures given by the army, at least 25,000 civilians have fled the Tamil Tiger-held area. Needless to add, the rebels have so far turned down the government calls to surrender, or to face a final assault.

Introducing himself as Thileepan, the rebel spokesman said that a hospital, an orphanage and many houses had been hit and huge numbers of civilians had been killed in a military onslaught of the area.

He said people had been reduced to hiding under logs and trees and using makeshift bunkers dug into the sand.

On the contrary, the Sri Lankan army has refused shelling civilians inside the rebel-held area.  Army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara informed that only small-arms were used by the military in the operation.

He said the Tigers were targeting civilians because they knew that if non-combatants left, the rebels would be sitting ducks. He says that three rebel suicide bombings had targeted fleeing civilians, killing 17.

One Tamil man who had just left the conflict zone said the rebels tried to shoot anyone planning to escape.

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