Civilian deaths increased monthly says US
The US embassy in Colombo reported to the State Department that the average civilian death toll in the battle zone in Sri Lanka increased every month as fighting intensified.
63 civilians a day on average were killed in inside and outside the war zone during the last stages of the war against the Tamil Tigers, according to the latest Wikileaks revelations.
Quoting unpublished UN figures provided on 07 April 2009, Ambassador Robert Blake has reported on the same day that 4164 civilians were killed from 20 January to 06 April.
Over 10,000 have sustained injuries during the same period, according to the cable sent to Washington.
But the cable noted that UN did not intend to publish the estimated figures gathered through reliable sources.
On April 7, the Sri Lankan military has launched an operation in "the thin 17 sq km coastal land strip at Mullaitivu" to free thousands of trapped civilians says the US embassy message.
However, the announcement did not specify "whether it was occurring inside or adjacent the safe zone".
While 33 people on average a day have been killed in the battle during January 2009, it says that the rate went up to 63 a day during February and March.
"The average wounded rate per day was 184 in January, 145 in February and 115 in March," said the cable revealed in the anti-secrecy website.
Noting that UN estimates are based on sources such as Regional Directors of Health Services, Catholic clergy, the Assistant
Government Agent and 213 national staff of international NGOs, Ambassador Blake says that the figures are the "credible minimum
count of casualties in
Since the declaration of the second safe zone along the Mullaitivu coast by the Sri Lankan government on 12 February, 2452 civilians were killed and nearly 5000 more sustained injuries, according to the cable.
The Civilian Safety Zone (CSZ) was to "facilitate flow of humanitarian aid and medical supplies for the people stranded with LTTE," said the military.
"U.N. sources still in the safe zone report daily shelling of the safe zone as well as occasional aerial bombardment," the cable sent on 07 April 2009 noted.
Quoting UN figures the cable says that 860 were killed and 3,339 injured in the original safe zone north of the A35 highway. "These figures include 23 children killed and 345 injured," it said.
The cable also records a failed attempt by the catholic church to save children from being forcibly recruited.
Quoting information given by the Bishop of Mannar Ambassador Blake says that the LTTE found out about nearly 400 children being sheltered in a church within the safe zone, "they broke into the church, apprehended them and forced them into service".
The UN expert panel report which says it found credible allegations of war crimes by both the government troops and the LTTE has been handed over to the current session of UNHRC in Geneva by the UN secretary-general.