As more than 34,000 Tamil civilians from LTTE-held territories in Sri Lanka’s embattled north crossed over to the government-controlled areas, the army on Friday accused the rebels of releasing only “unwanted” people to the safer zones.
“The LTTE has started checking large number of people moving to the government controlled areas and are releasing only their unwanted civilians,” a military official said, adding the move was prompted as the government set new safety zones after disbanding the previous ones that did not fully serve the purpose.
“A total of 1663 Tamil civilians who were kept hostages by the LTTE crossed over to the liberated areas throughout yesterday,” the official said.
He added that the hostages included 400 sick and wounded persons ferried through sea by the International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday and Thursday.
A total of over 34,000 civilians have moved to the government held areas till now with many more expected to leave the LTTE areas soon, the official said.
Troops of 58 Division are now being engaged in a mission to extend the withdrawal routes to create safe passages for the Tamil civilians forcefully held by the LTTE, the army said.