BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 12:37 GMT
Fear in Sri Lanka - one woman's view
Mannar in north-western Sri Lanka has seen some of the worst of the fighting between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in recent months.

Meanwhile life for the residents of this coastal district has become almost intolerable.

A woman who lives in Mannar and who prefers to remain anonymous told the BBC News website about the brutality surrounding her.


Fighting continues in north-west Sri Lanka
Clashes between government troops and Tiger rebels continue near Mannar
Mannar is a terrible place now. This is what happened to me just the other night.

I was visiting a church for a night service. On our way back we visited the grocery shop when there was a sudden bomb blast and after that loud gunfire. It was so close and we were so terrified.

My sister, myself and another lady ran to find cover and hide. There was gunfire everywhere. We just stayed down.

After half-an-hour of silence we called out to the policemen who were nearby. I shouted out:

"Son, son, can we go? Is it safe? Can we come?"

A policeman shouted back to me:

"Aunty, it is safe now! What are you doing on the road at such a time in the night?"

What could I say? We had to go to church. We are Christians and we had to make our prayers.

We think the Tigers put this bomb there to get the police. Some Tigers gave the bomb to a young boy, the son of a local shop owner, they told him to throw it near the police checkpoint.

So he did that and then he ran away. He went and hid on top of somebody else's house. The police searched for him and finally they shot and killed him.

Bus blast

[On Tuesday, 11] young children were killed by a claymore mine which exploded near the bus they were on. These claymore mines are everywhere. The army says the Tigers put them there, the Tigers say the army put them there. We can't really tell.

Map

This kind of thing always happens and we are so scared.

We are under government control and I think that is good for now. I would love the government to give us peace. I pray that the president finds a way to grant us Tamil people the peace we need.

Otherwise we cannot live.

For almost 25 years the Tamils have been suffering people. We suffer because both sides cannot find a way to peace. There is danger from government raids and from Tiger attacks.

Dawn bombings

People come around in white vans and kidnap people. I am afraid to keep my brothers here. People come and ask for money, they ask for amounts like 60,000 rupees ($565) - if we had that kind of money to give would we be staying here?

We don't know who these people are. We don't know if they are Tigers or if they are the government-related. They could be anybody.

And everyday there is fighting. At 3am they start the bombing and the firing - I hear it from where I live.

As dawn comes I should be listening to the birds and not to bombs.




FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific