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Posts Tagged ‘Red Cross’

By Emma Batha, AlertNet

Hundreds of people fleeing Sri Lanka’s war zone are arriving at hospitals with horrific injuries and severe trauma, doctors say.

Aid workers are also warning there could be a “bloodbath” as the war between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels enters what appears to be the final days.

The military says at least 100,000 civilians have poured out of the battle zone since Monday when troops blasted through a massive earthen wall built by the Tigers. But the United Nations says tens of thousands more could still be trapped there.

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By BBC News

At least 25,000 civilians have fled a Tamil Tiger-held area in northern Sri Lanka, the military says.

People escaped after troops broke through a fortification which had been blocking their advance into the Tigers’ last stronghold, the army said.

Aerial video showed thousands of people filing out of the combat zone. Tens of thousands remain in the area, which has seen heavy fighting for months.

The government says the rebels must now surrender or face a final assault.

There was no immediate response from the rebels, who have rejected previous calls to surrender. The pro-rebel TamilNet website said several hundred civilians were feared killed and injured after troops advanced into the zone.

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By Agence France-Presse

The Philippine military said Saturday it was tightening its cordon around Muslim extremists holding two Red Cross workers hostage, even during the Easter holidays.

“There will be no let up in further constricting the kidnappers’ positions to reduce their freedom of movement especially this Lenten Season,” a military statement said.

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By BBC News

At least 60 civilians have been killed by shells fired in a no-fire zone in Sri Lanka in the past 24 hours, a senior health official there says.

Two health facility compounds in the north-east region were also hit, Dr T Varatharaja told the BBC.

Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped by the fighting between the Sri Lanka military and Tamil Tigers rebels.

The military has denied responsibility for the casualties, and the rebels have not responded.

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By Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)
Zamboanga City, Philippines_(dpa) _ A Philippine court on Wednesday ordered the release of seven people arrested for allegedly providing support to Muslim militants holding captive two European Red Cross workers.

By Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)

The suspects – three police officers, two village captains and two alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group – were freed two days after police filed criminal charges of kidnapping for ransom and illegal detention against them.

They were arrested on Jolo island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, last week on suspicion of being supporters of al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels, Governor Abdusakur Tan said.

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By Nita Bhalla, Reuters News

A woman walks near barbed wire at an internally displaced camp set up in Vavuniya for Tamils who have escaped the war zone.

Sri Lanka’s government says its 25-year war is nearing its conclusion as troops close in on Tamil Tiger rebels cornered in a tiny patch of land on the northeast coast. Aid agencies are warning of possibly dire humanitarian consequences for tens of thousands of civilians trapped with the Tigers in the shrinking war zone. And even after the conflict is over, the fate of civilians remains a serious concern. Here are some questions and answers about the fate of civilians caught up in Asia’s longest-running war:

HOW MANY CIVILIANS ARE AFFECTED? According to the United Nations and Red Cross, about 150,000 civilians are trapped inside the rapidly shrinking “no-fire zone”, a strip of land just 7 km long and 2 km wide (4 miles by 1.2 miles) along the northeastern coast. The government says that there are less than 100,000 there. The United Nations and rights groups say the Tigers have held people as human shields or conscripts. Some civilians who have managed to flee the no-fire zone report being fired on by the rebels or seeing friends and relatives forcibly recruited to fight. The U.N. and rights groups also say the government has shelled the densely packed no-fire zone, which the government denies as Tiger propaganda. Aid workers estimate about 5,000 civilians have managed to escape in the past two weeks, joining around 65,000 people who are being held in government-controlled camps.

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By Missionary International News Service Agency

The police have arrested three police officers, two village leaders and two alleged Abu Sayyaf members, charging them with conspiracy to kidnap three Red Cross (ICRC) workers. The suspects, says the Philippine press, are believed to have given logistical support and of having given refuge to the rebels. Yesterday, the government announced the nomination of a new negotiator to deal with the kidnappers, saying that he would be known to the rebels. Meanwhile, the army, police and volunteers encircling the Abu Sayyaf group have resumed their positions in Jolo to secure the release of Italian Eugenio Vagni and Swiss Andreas Notter, after Philippine Mary Jean Lacaba.was released a few days ago. The Philippine press quotes a military document indicating the Aby Sayyaf group is demanding a USD 5 million ransom. ICRC has often reiterated it cannot pay such a sum, stressing that its workers play a purely humanitarian role and in order not to encourage more kidnappings; the Philippine government itself has also refused to pay ransoms and said that none was paid for the release of Lacaba. The three ICRC workers were kidnapped last January 15 in Jolo. [AB]

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/SNAA-7QW7MT?OpenDocument

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