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Last updated: 18 January, 2009 - Published 14:18 GMT
 
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Civilians will arrive 'within days'
 
CM Pillayan collecting humanitarian aid
CM Pillayan expresses hope that this is the last time civilians are displaced in the NE
All the civilians in LTTE-held areas in the north are expected to arrive in the government territory within the next two to three days, Eastern Province Chief Minister (CM) said.

Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) said that Sri Lanka troops reported to have already entered Pudukudiyiruppu, in Mullaitivu district.

He made the remarks while launching a programme to collect aid for the use of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the war zone in Mullaitivu, northern Sri Lanka.

The ministers in the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) have decided to launch the programme through local government offices in the province and collect aid until 26 January.

'Detaining civilians'

The aid is to be delivered to transit camps in the north where IDPs arriving from the war zone are camped.

 It is natural for the civilians to be displaced in a war situation. But I sincerely hope that this will be the last displacement
 
CM Pillayan

By the time the aid collection is completed, CM Pillayan said, every civilian in the war zone would be in transit camps.

A New York based human rights group has earlier criticised the conditions in the transit camps.

The Human Rights Watch also accused the authorities of detaining civilians fleeing the battle zone.

Denying the accusation, the government accuses the LTTE of keeping the civilians under their control as a human shield.

Mr. Pillayan said that he regrets the plight of the civilians caught in the conflict.

Describing the displacement as 'temporary', the former Tamil Tiger turned politician said he expected that it will be the last displacement of civilians.

"It is natural for the civilians to be displaced in a war situation. But I sincerely hope that this will be the last displacement," he said.

 
 
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