Four children killed in Sri Lanka air strikes: UNICEF

Apr. 30 (AFP) – Four children were killed in government air strikes in northeastern Sri Lanka last week, the United Nations children’s agency said Sunday, urging the reopening of schools in the affected area. UNICEF, which sent a mission to the rebel-held areas of Trincomalee district, said two schools were damaged in the bombardment.

“Four children between the ages of two and 16 years were among the 16 people killed in the air attacks,” UNICEF senior program coordinator Yasmin Haq told AFP. “We were told that another 24 children were wounded. We are checking on those reports.”

She said UNICEF was keen for the schools to be quickly rebuilt.

“Children in the area are traumatised and it is important for them to go back to school as soon as possible. That is one way in which they can overcome the trauma,” she said.

The UN said up to 21,000 people had fled their homes in Trincomalee after the government air strikes — which ended on Wednesday — and earlier violence in April.

Tamil Tiger rebels said 15 civilians died in the government attacks, a figure the top local government official essentially agreed with.

Sri Lanka on Thursday set aside one million dollars in aid for the thousands wh