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52 dead, 80 injured in Sri Lanka

[Hindu, Wednesday, 4 February 2009 20:30 No Comment]

Amid confirmation by a United Nations representative here that at least 52 people were killed and 80 wounded in continued fighting between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE and a cluster bomb targeted the only functional hospital in the fast shrinking area under the control of the Tigers, Sri Lanka Co-Chairs on Wednesday appealed to the government and the LTTE to declare a ‘temporary no-fire period.’

 

The appeal of the Co-Chairs (Norway, Japan, U.S. and European Union) came in the wake of rising concerns over the fate of an estimated 1.2 lakh civilians trapped in the war zone and reports of all out war between the advancing Army and the Tigers who are left with less than 200 sq. km. of territory.

 

The military in a statement denied responsibility for the attack on the Puthukkudiyiruppu (PTK) hospital or use of cluster bombs and insisted that UN and ICRC were asked to move out of ‘areas where the Tigers are present.’

 

The ICRC separately said that it moved 300 patients and 20 of its staff from the PTK hospital to Puthamalathan in Mullaithivu district.

 

UN spokesman Gordon Weiss told reporters that 15 UN staffers and 81 family members are trapped in the Puthukkudiyiruppu area.

 

The Co-Chairs expressed great concern over the plight of thousands trapped in the fighting zone and called on the LTTE and the government not to fire out of or into the no-fire zones or in the vicinity of the PTK hospital.

[Full Coverage]

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