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Archive for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Government sets deadline for surrender

April 21, 2009

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— The Sri Lankan government gave the Tamil Tiger rebels 24 hours to surrender Monday after as many as 35,000 civilians, allegedly being held by rebels as human shields, poured through a broken rebel barricade to flee the last Tiger stronghold, officials said.

The Sri Lankan air force released videos showing harried families traversing lagoons and swampy fields to a nearby beach, while others headed south to heavily restricted government camps for food, shelter and medical care.

The latest turn of events comes after months of fierce warfare waged by the Sri Lankan government in an effort to root out Tamil rebels from an eight-square-mile patch of northern coastal land. It is difficult to verify information from either side because the war zone is sealed off to journalists, but the United Nations estimates that up to 100,000 people remain trapped by fighting.

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