COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, April 13 (UPI) -- The United Nations called on rebels in the north of Sri Lanka to maintain a halt in violence during the remaining time of a two-day cease-fire.
The government of Sri Lanka declared a two-day cease-fire in its ongoing military campaign targeting the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the northern Vanni region of the country. The 48-hour cease-fire, which went into effect Sunday at midnight, drew praise from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has been calling for a halt in the violence to deliver aid and evacuate civilians trapped in the conflict, the United Nations reported.
An estimated 150,000 to 190,000 people have remained under constant threat of violence as the Sri Lankan army has pushed further north targeting the LTTE. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reported that hundreds of people in a "no fire" zone may have been killed in recent violence.
Ban called on LTTE rebels to maintain the halt in violence and "take concrete and immediate steps to protect civilians by respecting the pause, for its full duration," according to a news release.