SL crisis | 'Bombing victims were kids' | india | Hindustan Times
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SL crisis | 'Bombing victims were kids'

Forty adolescent girls were killed in an aerial bombing on an orphanage by SL forces, writes PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2006 02:54 IST

Even as the Sri Lankan government claimed that the orphanage hit by aerial bombing on Monday was actually a LTTE military training camp, UNICEF said that the victims of the bombing were innocent children.

"These children are innocent victims of violence," said Ann M Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director in a statement issued in Colombo on Tuesday.

Girls from various schools in the nearby districts of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi were staying overnight at the Vallepuram compound, attending a two-day course in first-aid, when the compound was bombed, the statement said.

As many as 40 adolescent girls were reportedly killed and some 100 children were wounded, it noted.

"UNICEF staff from a nearby office immediatelyvisited the compound to assess the situation and to provide fuel and supplies for the hospital as well as counseling support for the injured students and the bereaved families."

"This latest incident comes amid escalating hostilities in Sri Lanka in recent weeks, where tens of thousands of children were displaced from their homes."

"Hundreds of children have been injured, lost family members, and live in constantfear of the violence and continuous shellingof their communities," the statement said.

LTTE has 1340 kid soldiers says Govt

Earlier in the day, the Sri Lankan government said that the place bombed was a LTTE military camp training young children.

Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwela quoted UNICEF as saying that the LTTE still had in its ranks 1340 child soldiers.

The victims of the bombing might have been minors, but they were soldiers all the same, he said.