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Sri Lanka: ICRC alarmed at rising civilian casualties

18-09-1999 News Release 99/53

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is deeply concerned at the recent outburst of violence in the conflict in Sri Lanka, which is resulting in an alarming increase in the number of civilian casualties.

On 15 September an attack by the Sri Lankan airforce killed 22 civilians and wounded a further 35 in Puthukkudiyiruppu near Mullaittivu. Children were among the victims.

According to eyewitness accounts, in the early hours of this morning the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) massacred at least 50 civilians, again including children, in the villages of Gonagala, Borapola and Bedirekka, in the Amparai area.

The ICRC reminds both the Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law and urges them in particular to desist from brutal and indiscriminate acts that spread terror amongst the civilian  population.