New years' halt to Sri Lanka fighting: president

Article Date: 
12 Apr 2009

Sri Lanka's president on Sunday ordered the military not to attack the Tamil Tigers during a two-day holiday in order to allow thousands of civilians to escape a no-fire zone where they are being held by the separatists...

There was no immediate comment from the LTTE, whose agreement to let the people go is essential. The United Nations and witnesses say people are being kept as human shields and forced conscripts or being shot as they try to flee.

In late January, Rajapaksa gave a 48-hour window of safe passage to civilians and urged the Tigers to let them go, but the rebels refused.

The LTTE so far has refused any diplomatic entreaties to get them to let people leave whom they insist are staying by choice.

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