Caritas Worker Killed in Sri Lanka "Safe" Zone

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JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, MAY 8, 2009 ( A Caritas worker was killed this week in the «safe zone» where Sri Lankan government forces have cornered the Tamil Tiger rebels.

«Raj» Anthonipillai Uthayaraj, 26, died as a result of the fighting in Mullivaikal, in the «No Fire» zone where civilians have taken refuge from the conflict, Caritas reported Wednesday.

The organization’s secretary general, Lesley-Anne Knight, said, «This is a dreadful loss for Raj’s family, friends and Caritas.»

Although tens of thousands of people sought safety in this zone at the north of the island, the rebel forces were pushed back into the same region, and consequently the fighting pursued the civilians.

Knight stated, «It further emphasizes the need for people caught up in this conflict to reach safety and have the basic things they need.»

An estimated 190,000 civilians have been able to escape the zone into government refugee camps.

Two weeks ago, the local Caritas director, Father T. R. Vasanthaseelan, was seriously injured in the zone.

The national director, Father Damien Fernando, asserted: «There must be an end to this war or more lives will be lost. Aid workers and civilians alike must receive genuine protection.»

He added that Caritas will continue helping people and seeking a lasting solution for peace in the country.

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