05/30/2008, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Clashes in Jaffna kill six civilians, damages Catholic buildings

by Melani Manel Perera
This morning artillery shells land in villages killing and maiming Tamil civilians, damaging O.M.I. Missionary-owned buildings. Yesterday in Colombo more than a thousand people from every ethnic and religious background protested against the war.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – The civil war being fought in the northern part of Sri Lanka continues to harm civilians, including children and pregnant women, causing damages to religious buildings and creating insecurity across the country. In response to the situation the population, Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim, has taken to the street to say “Enough is enough!” The latest episode took place this morning on the Jaffna Peninsula.

In a clash between the government’s security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), shelling by the artillery killed six Tamil civilians, including two children, wounding another 20, including a pregnant woman, in the villages of Kolombuthurai, Gurunagar and Pasiuur.

The government blamed the LTTE for today’s attack with the Defence Ministry reporting that some shells damaged some Catholic religious buildings, among them the Fr. Matthews Memorial Home, a house and St. Joseph's O.M.I. Seminary.

More than a thousand people from every ethnic and religious background came together yesterday in Colombo to protest against the war and its impact on the civilian population.

Demonstrators called on President Rajapakse and the LTTE to stop military operations and reach a peace agreement.

“They are playing Russian roulette with human lives,” Padma Pushpakanthi from Women's Action for Social Justice told AsiaNews. “They must find a political solution to the crisis because war cannot bring justice. The government must open its eyes and see that many people do not approve of this war.”

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