Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels have released a video of what they say is a government war plane bombing a tiny coastal strip where they are trapped with thousands of civilians. It comes a day after Sri Lanka said it would stop using heavy weaponry to attack rebel targets.
There is no independent verification of the film, or proof of when it was filmed, but it does highlight the international community’s concerns for civilians. The rebels are hemmed in a sliver of land in the north of the island and it is widely believed ordinary people are being held there against their will. In response to mounting pressure from the UN the country’s leaders said the army would only use small arms to finish the campaign against the Tigers. But they are resisting calls for a total ceasefire. The government says in the past the militants have simply used breaks in the fighting to regroup. The UN says it is now dealing with two humanitarian crises — trying to free those trapped in the war zone and caring for the many thousands who escaped over a week ago.