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Sri Lanka: most of weekend displaced have returned home

Briefing notes

Sri Lanka: most of weekend displaced have returned home

13 April 2004

Most of the several thousand Sri Lankans who were forced to flee their villages over the weekend have returned to their homes in eastern Sri Lanka after factional fighting in the ranks of the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam eased.

UNHCR joined an inter-agency effort led by the Sri Lankan government to provide emergency assistance to 3,303 Sri Lankans in 697 families who sought refuge in schools in Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts. By this morning, most of the several dozen families remaining in the two schools in these areas were on their way home.

The factional fighting in the rebel ranks broke out on Friday. We were told by authorities in the Sri Lankan government, which was not involved in the clashes, that the main LTTE group based in the north of the country has put down the uprising in its eastern region.

It was the first time that clashes were reported in Sri Lanka since peace talks under the auspices of Norway started two years ago between the LTTE and the Colombo government. We hope that the situation will further improve and the negotiations will continue, ending the civil conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives over two decades.