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A Newspaper Published by World Institute for Asian Studies. Powered by WIAS, Vol. 9 No. 12

UN calls Sri Lanka shelling 'Bloodbath'

By Wajid Ali Syed – Washington Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Washington, 12 May, (Asiantribune.com): The United Nations has condemned the killing of hundreds of Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil civilians from repeated shelling in recent days, calling the violence in the country's north a "bloodbath."

UN officials in Colombo say the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have ignored calls to release tens of thousands of civilians they are using as a "buffer" between them and the military in the combat zone. The agency's Secretary General has called upon the government of Sri Lanka to exercise maximum restraint as it carries the fight to the LTTE in order to protect civilian lives.

According to the reports so far, the rebels blame military shelling for killing 2,000 people in the sliver of coastal land in the northeast it still holds. But the military has acknowledged the deaths of at least 250 people in the shelling, but denies responsibility saying that the troops are not using artillery against the rebels because the soldiers are committed to rescuing the civilians being held as "human shields" by the LTTE.

UN is also showed concern as the independent observers are not permitted into the troubled area. In a statement the agency's spokesman said that "this is one of the clearest calls repeatedly rendered to the government of Sri Lanka - that the UN be allowed to access the area so we can assess independently the situation of civilians."

Sri Lanka has rejected repeated calls to halt its final offensive. It argues that would only allow the rebels, considered a terrorist organization, to regroup and re-arm. Several prominent human rights groups are now calling on Japan, as Sri Lanka's top aid donor, to apply such pressure on Colombo.

- Asian Tribune -