Saturday, May 9, 2009

It’s now New Safety Zone: Colombo - Hindu

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government on Friday renamed the remaining area under occupation by the LTTE inside the No-Fire Zone (NFZ) as New Safety Zone (NSZ).

The Defence Ministry said here the Army now is in full control of more than two-third of the existing Puthumathlan “Safety Zone” and declared that the re-christened NSZ is confined to south of Karayamullivaikkal including Vellamullivaikkal — two km in length and 1.5 km in width — along the Mullathivu sea coast.

“This has been modified to match with the present situation and after considering the concentration of civilians in the area,” it said. An unknown number of Tiger leaders and cadre including LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran are believed to be holding an estimated 20,000 civilians as hostage inside the NSZ.

The announcement over re-demarcation of the “New Safety Zone” came hours after Army troops captured a Tiger earth-bund after pitched confrontations.

The military said the troops collected several bodies of Tiger cadre and a large cache of arms and ammunition.

The pro-LTTE TamilNet was silent on Friday on the situation inside the NSZ. The website for some days now has been focusing on the activities of Tamil Diaspora and carrying articles urging the international community in general and the U.S. in particular to intervene.

The military said the troops recovered six T-56 weapons, one binocular, three I-com sets, six rounds of 81 mm mortar booby traps, 500 rounds of Multi-Purpose Machine Gun (MPMG) ammunition, eight mine fields, 27 hand grenades, 163 anti-personnel mines, 12 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) bombs, 3,450 rounds of T-56 ammunition, three claymore mines, 10 anti-personnel fuses, five 81 mm mortar bombs, 81 mortar chargers (106), three 120 mm mortar bombs and 120 mm mortar chargers (10).

Meanwhile, the Navy said on directions given by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the MV Green Ocean carried a consignment of essential items for the use of Tamil civilians forcibly held hostage by the LTTE in the government declared No-Fire Zone (NFZ).

The consignment includes 25 tonnes food, 600 litres kerosene and medical items. Further 617 civilians including 123 patients onboard MV Green Ocean were brought to Pulmudai in the east with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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