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Last updated: 01 September, 2008 - Published 13:02 GMT
 
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'Build bunkers' civilians urged
 
LTTE leaflet (BBC image)
LTTE accuses government of deliberately targetting civilians
The civilians living in rebel-held areas were urged by the Tamil Tigers to build bunkers as fighting with the government forces escalates.

The Tamil Tigers have admitted that fighting is intensifying as they have 'escalated' attacks on the government forces.

The leaflets, seen by the BBC, were handed over to the people in Kilinochchi by the Tigers days after Sri Lanka air force dropped leaflets urging the civilians to leave LTTE-held areas.

Residents of the town of Kilinochchi said a helicopter flew low overhead during the night, dropping thousands of leaflets.

Government leaflets

The government leaflets, written in Tamil, said the rebels were facing huge defeats and urged civilians to save their lives by leaving for government-held territory.

Government leaflets dropped in the north
Defence Secretary recently pledged a safe passage for civilians leaving LTTE-held areas

The LTTE, for their part, have accused the government forces of targeting civilians in rebel-held areas as the forces are 'suffering heavy losses' at the battle.

"No houses should be without bunkers. Be it road junctions, play grounds, schools, business establishments, offices- in all places bunkers should be constructed as Safety Mechanisms," the leaflet said.

Aid agencies say 134,000 displaced people are in Kilinochchi district alone, where the rebels have their administrative headquarters.

'Human shield'

More than half of them have abandoned their homes in the last three months.

The military has advanced rapidly into Tiger territory during that time.

 The government feels that the civilians are a barrier for them to continue with war
 
Cyril Solomon, Wanni MP

The LTTE urging civilians to build bunkers is nothing new, a pro-LTTE Tamil parliamentarian told BBC Tamil Service.

Wanni district Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, Cyril Solomon, however accused the government of trying to spread fear among the civilians in an attempt to get them out from the LTTE-held areas.

“The government feels that the civilians are a barrier for them to continue with the war,” he said.

The government and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, have accused the LTTE of using the civilians as a human shield.

 
 
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