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Tigers: Civilians want to remain

Jan. 30, 2009 at 8:23 PM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The estimated 250,000 civilians in the conflict zone in northern Sri Lanka want to stay to be protected by the Tamil Tigers, the rebels say,

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had appealed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to allow the civilians to leave, BBC reported Friday. Rajapaksa had offered safe passage to the civilians so they could leave.

Rebel political chief B Nadesan said the civilians did not want to end up in the hands of "their killers," the British network reported.

The European Union on Friday called for an end to the conflict between the Tigers and the government.

"This is an escalating humanitarian catastrophe. We are extremely worried about the terrible situation facing people trapped in the fighting," European Union Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said.

The Daily News and Reports said the Sri Lankan government has repeatedly stated its military actions will continue until all LTTE rebels surrender their arms.

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