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BY TUESDAY OVER 30,000 TAMIL CIVILIANS HAVE SOUGHT REFUGE OF THE SRI LANKA SECURITY FOORCES AND THEY ARE STILL POURING

By Walter Jayawardhana

Over 30,000 Tamil civilians since January have so far crossed from the LTTE controlled, to the government controlled areas, some under heavy beatings and shooting by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to Ministry of Defence sources.

Until February 10 more than 30,000 have sought the refuge of the security forces and the majority of the civilians came after February 6.

Defence sources said 240 patients in the LTTE controlled areas in government hospitals between Chalai and Mulaitivu were removed by the Sri Lanka Navy to the Trincomalee Hospital with the assistance of the ICRC. Sources said 116 people to assist the patients were also brought to the Trincomalee hospital. Security forces refrained from attacking the areas to facilitate the safe passage of the patients, the defence sources said.

On February 10 784 refugees reached at the 58 Division army station from puthukudiviruppu, Army sources said.

Apart from the shootings of the LTTE, many civilians had to walk through booby traps and mines set in the jungles by the LTTE.

Human Rights Watch , aid agencies and the Defence Ministry sources of the Sri Lanka government have charged the Tamil Tigers have forced people to stay at gun point and are using them to fight, build defences or act as human shields. But the LTTE is denying that and said that they are staying at their free will in fear of the Sri Lanka government persecution at the refugee camp. But observers said no such persecution is taking place.

Refugees speaking to television cameras from refugee centers said they were looked after at these centers and everybody should come


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