Sri Lanka on Sunday said the LTTE has failed to allow free movement of civilians in conflict areas in the north of the island within the 48-hour deadline set by it to the rebels and accused them of continuing to worsen the people's sufferings.
"LTTE terrorists continued worsening suffering of the thousands of civilians entrapped in the outskirts of Mullaittivu, ignoring the 48-hour ultimatum served for the safe passage of civilians," the Defence Ministry said.
President Mahinda Rajapakse had on Thursday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the LTTE to surrender and allow free movement of civilians trapped in conflict areas and assured a "safe passage" to the civilians to a secure environment. The deadline ended on Sunday night.
The Ministry said the Tamil Tigers' violated the objective of the declared 'safe zones' and moved heavy artillery batteries and mortar guns over civilians endangering the safety of the civilians.
It said the Tamil Tigers' "are manning a forward defence line in the outer perimeters of the 'safe zone', which is also said to be cluttered with land mines clamping any civilian attempt to reach the liberated areas under the security forces."
Meanwhile, the Media Center for National Security said a naval patrol craft rescued 43 Tamil civilians who were fleeing from the clutches of LTTE last night.