Air raids leave thousands homeless in Sri Lanka

MUTTUR, Sri Lanka, April 27, 2006 (AFP) – Thousands of frightened people have been left homeless in Sri Lanka after air strikes on suspected Tamil Tiger rebel positions, the guerrillas and a UN official said Thursday. Three decades of ethnic bloodshed in Sri Lanka have claimed more than 60,000 lives.

– By Bryan Pearson “More than 40,000 people have been displaced and are languishing as refugees,” the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said in a statement.

Meanwhile, violence continued when five security personnel died Thursday in three separate mine attacks blamed on Tiger rebels, the military said.

The LTTE has accused the international community of ignoring the plight of the homeless in the island’s north-eastern district of Trincomalee.

“They are terrorised. Normalcy in civilian life has been utterly destroyed,” the LTTE said.

Lyndon Jeffels, spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency, said staff could not confirm the figure of 40,000 but it was clear that thousands of people were on the move.

“Certainly it seems that there is a very significant displacement as a consequence of the aerial bombardment,” Jeffels told BBC radio.

In Colombo, government spokesman Rohit