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Villages destroyed in ‘scorched earth’ advance

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) is deliberately razing Tamil villages to the ground as part of its military offensive against the LTTE in Muthur East region of Trincomalee, LTTE officials said last week.

Through Norwegian facilitators, the LTTE has condemned in the “strongest possible terms Sri Lanka’s ‘scorched earth’ policy of occupying Tamil civilian centers and rendering them uninhabitable,” the LTTE’s military spokesman, I. Ilanthirayan, said Friday.

A scorched earth policy is a military tactic which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area.

The SLA offensive, launched Monday was being directed through civilian settlements of the region, he said last Friday.

Sri Lanka’s army says it is targeting LTTE camps and artillery bases, justifying its offensive as necessary to safeguard the Trincomalee navy base.

More than 1,200 Tamil families have been evacuated to safety in the past week, Mr. Ianthirayan said mid-last week.

The SLA has occupied and destroyed the Tamil villages of Kaddaiparichchan, Senaiyoor, Kaneshapuram and Ambalnagar, Mr. Ilanthirayan said.

The villages were bombarded with heavy artillery and multi-barrel rocket launchers before ground troops occupied them, LTTE officials in Sampur said.

Subsequently cultivated fields and livestock were destroyed, they added.

As thousands more Tamil civilians join the two hundred thousand people displaced this year in Sri Lanka military air and artillery bombardments and ground offensives, the Sri Lankan government is deliberately compounding the displaced people’s difficulties, they said.

“Sri Lanka’s renewed military aggression has aggravated the deep humanitarian crisis [in the region],” Mr. Ianthirayan said. “The Sri Lankan military is maintaining a blockade on international and local NGOs providing emergency supplies for the displaced.”

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