Jaffna curfew, troops block anxious residents

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 August 2006, 00:34 GMT]
Frightened residents of various parts of Jaffna are unable to flee their homes due to a total curfew imposed by Sri Lanka’s military, sources in the northern peninsula said. Amid heavy shelling by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) towards LTTE-controlled Palai and Elephant Pass and warnings by the LTTE last night that it would retaliate against SLA camps in Thenmaradchchi and Jaffna islets, large numbers of people are anxious to move away from SLA positions.

Residents of the suburbs of Kurunagar, Pasaiyoor, Kolumbuthurai were unable to move from potential shelling because Sri Lankan troops are preventing people from leaving, sources said.

Some residents had returned home after being threatened by SLA forces at nearby checkpoints, sources said. Some people had reportedly been shot at by troops, but details of casualties are difficult to obtain, correspondents.

SLA Jaffna Head Quarters announced Friday that Jaffna Police chief in Jaffna, Erik Perera, had imposed a curfew from 7:00 pm.

But Police officials said they had not been informed about a curfew, but they had heard the emergency radio broadcast by the military.

As dawn broke Saturday, the Sri Lanka military’s radio in Palaly continued to announce that the curfew was still in force.

Concerned that LTTE artillery might strike at nearby SLA camps, community representatives in various suburbs are approaching local military commanders to plead their case.

Meanwhile, SLA artillery based at the Palali airbase has resumed its bombardment towards Elephant Pass, having stopped firing Friday night after an unidentified aircraft fired rockets at the base around 9.30 p.m.

 

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