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Residents have melted away

January 5, 2009
With deserted streets and roof-less buildings, the once bustling de facto Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam capital wears a ghostly look with some one lakh residents of Kilinochchi appearing to have melted away.

"Welcome to the Tamil Eelam Health Centre," says a banner outside a hospital in Kilinochchi, which was recaptured after 10 years by the Sri Lankan troops last week, giving a major blow to the LTTE rebels.

There are no inmates or doctors but only a structure bereft of ceiling, which the army says has been removed by the LTTE to use the metal roof and asbestos for building bunkers.

A team of select mediapersons, taken on a tour by the Sri Lankan army to the run-down city, saw a town which was unoccupied barring soldiers everywhere. The soldiers told the media team that much as they wanted the citizens to remain where they were as the government was preparing to rehabilitate them, they suspected the civilians moved along with the LTTE under 'intimidation'.

Image: A Sri Lankan soldier patrols in Kilinochchi.

Text: T V Sriram/PTI | Photograph: REUTERS/Ministry of Defence/Handout

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