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DATE=9/29/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SRI LANKA ATTACK (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-254444 BYLINE=VANDANA CHOPRA DATELINE=COLOMBO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The United Nations, says the Sri Lankan government has confirmed 22 Tamil refugees were accidentally killed when government planes bombed the country's north earlier this month. Vandana Chopra has the details from Colombo. TEXT: Sri Lankan government officials say the government is investigating the circumstances of the Air Force accident which killed Tamil refugees. The United Nations resident Coordinators office in Colombo, says government officials have confirmed that the casualties, incurred in Mullaitivu district during the air attack, were the result of an accident. The government is now investigating the incident. Military officials had earlier denied civilian killings saying air force jets had attacked two camps belonging to Tamil Tiger separatists on September 15th. After the air force attack, Tiger rebels massacred more than 50 Sinhalese civilians in an early morning raid on three villages in eastern Ampara district in what the military called retaliation. Earlier this week, Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar blasted the United Nations for commenting on civilian killings in his country. He asked the UN organizations to restrict their concerns to the social and economic development of the country. The UN statement issued last week urged all parties to the conflict to refrain from any attacks and retaliatory attacks directed towards civilians. But Foreign Minister Kadirgamar said the UN organization should restrict their concerns to "malaria and mosquitos" and not try to expand their mandate. The rebel guerrillas have been fighting for a independent homeland for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka's north and east since 1983. More than 50-thousand people have died in the island's long conlict which has strained the government and economy.(Signed) NEB/VC/PLM 29-Sep-1999 06:29 AM EDT (29-Sep-1999 1029 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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