Doctor Reports 378 Dead in Sri Lanka
A government doctor in Sri Lanka’s war zone said Sunday that 378 civilians were killed and more than 1,100 wounded in the past day during intensive shelling of the tiny piece of land still controlled by Tamil rebels.
The Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tiger rebels traded accusations over who was responsible for the shelling, which the government doctor, V. Shanmugarajah, said was the worst carnage he had witnessed in the Sri Lankan military’s intensifying campaign to wipe out the rebels.
“We are doing the first aid and some surgeries as quickly as we can,” Dr. Shanmugarajah, who works from a field hospital in the combat zone, was quoted by The Associated Press as having said. “We are doing what is possible. The situation is overwhelming; nothing is within our control.”
Civilians trapped in the area have little food or potable water and only makeshift shelter, according to those who have managed to flee the combat zone. About 700 civilians escaped on Sunday alone, according to the military. >>>
The army denies shelling the designated “safe zone” for civilians, and blames any deaths on Tamil Tiger rebels.
The claims are impossible to verify as reporters are banned from the war zone.
But the BBC’s Charles Haviland, in Colombo, says a steady stream of information coming from the area suggests that civilians are being killed.
And he says health officials are convinced that the shells are coming from territory held by the Sri Lankan army.
The pro-rebel Tamilnet website reported that the army began to fire artillery shells late on Saturday.
The site said as many as 2,000 civilians had been killed.
Dr V Shanmugarajah said he could not confirm that figure but said the makeshift hospital he is working in – at a school in east Mullaivaikal in Mullaitivu district – had so far taken in 378 bodies.
He said 106 of those killed were children. >>>