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Phosphorus attacks covered up in hospitals

An article by British newspaper the Times has presented evidence of the use of phosphorus shells against civilians, and of the cover-up methods, including blackmail, employed by government medical staff.

The article recounts the experiences of 'Kannaki', a victim of phosphorus shelling left with extensive bodily burns and a disfigured face.

Kannaki, six months pregnant at the time, was hit by the shell while in bunker with 15 others, and regained consciousness in a hospital staffed by Sinhalese doctors. While recovering at the hospital, she was presented with a legal document declaring that her burns were the result of an accident at home. She said that “when I refused, they became abusive,” and threatened to abort her unborn child.

Although Kannaki was able to move to another hospital with the help of a 'sympathetic Tamil doctor', she endured a difficult pregnancy after which her child reportedly required numerous blood transfusions to remove the phosphorus contamination.

Kannaki claimed that the shelling came from the Sri Lankan army and said:

“All of us in the bunker were ordinary people... It was mostly women and the elderly sheltering together.”

See the Times for full story.

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