Chencholai bombing

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Chencholai bombing
Female minors killed in the incident
Location Mullaitivu, Mullaitivu District, Sri Lanka
Date August 14, 2006 (+6 GMT)
Target Sri Lankan Tamil female children
Attack type
Air bombing
Weapons Bombs
Deaths 61
Perpetrators Sri Lankan Airforce

Chencholai bombing took place on August 14, 2006 when the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed what they stated was a rebel LTTE training camp killing at least 61 children[1][full citation needed] between the ages of 16 and 18, all of them girls. The LTTE, UNICEF, SLMM and UTHR all stated those in the compound were not LTTE cadres.[2]

Incident and reactions[edit]

The Sri Lankan government claimed to be monitoring the site since 2004 and claimed that it was a training camp and clearly stating that it was not mistaken or wrong target.

The Tamil Nadu state assembly in India passed a resolution termed the Chencholai orphanage bombing as 'uncivilized, barbaric, inhumane and atrocious'.[3]

The human rights organisation UTHR reported that LTTE had organized this first aid class and that these children were not Child Soldiers. It further claimed that this camp was used by LTTE but not as a training camp.[4]

United Nations spokeswomen Orla Clinton said that students had been killed in the attack and they seem to have been students between 16 and 18, A-level students, from the Kilinochichi and Mullaittivu areas, who were on a two-day training course. [5]


UNICEF staff from a nearby office immediately visited the compound to assess the situation and to provide fuel and supplies for the hospital as well as counselling support for the injured students and the bereaved families.

said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director while UNICEF’s Joanne Van Gerpen said



Retired major general of the Swedish Army, Ulf Henricsson the Head of the Nordic truce monitors SLMM said that his staff had not finished counting the dead and that they couldn’t find any sign of military installations or weapons.[8]

Sri Lanka Government reaction[edit]

Sri Lanka Government spokesmen Keheliya Rambukwela and Brigadier Athula Jayawardene told the media in Colombo that the orphanage was in fact a training and transit camp for the LTTE's military cadres. The camp, Jayawardene pointed out, did not look like an orphanage at all or any civilian structure for that matter. Even if it were granted that the victims were minors (under 18 years of age and girls) they were soldiers alright, or soldiers under training, Rambukwela and Jayawardene argued.[citation needed] The Sri Lankan refused to condemn or order any inquiry into the incident. The government also showed journalists, as Reuters reported, what appeared to be satellite footage of Tigers fleeing a training camp shortly after Kfir jets bombed it.[9] However, a journalist who viewed the tapes stated,

[not in citation given]

On September 1, Sri Lankan police said they arrested three young women -aged 18, 19 and 20 - whom they said were injured in the airstrike and were subsequently brought to a hospital in central Sri Lanka for treatment. Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando said the three young women all claimed that they were taken by a member of the Tamil Tigers to a camp deep within rebel territory for first aid training but when they reached the camp, they were forced to undergo weapons training.[11]

Statement from the North East Secretariat on Human Rights[edit]

In the Senchcholai complex in Vallipunam in the Mullaithivu district hundreds of female students in the age group of 17-20 were gathered on 10 August 2006 for a weeklong training in leadership and first aid which was intended for preparing the students for leadership in their school and community during the impending war.[12] On 14 August 2006 around 7.30am, Sri Lankan Air Force carried out extensive bombing. 52 students and two staff were killed. 130 students were seriously injured. Many more received minor injuries. Three of the injured girls lost one leg and another girl lost an eye.

A further three of the injured girls were sent by the Mullaithivu hospital to Kandy for treatment. Sri Lankan Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) immediately put the three injured girls under arrest. The three girls were eventually cleared and were brought to Vavuniya hospital to return to their homes in Vanni when one of the injured girls died. The other two girls were immediately taken back Kandy hospital. Eventually the whereabouts of the two girls became mysterious except that their parents were permitted to meet the girls at prearranged locations. The parents of the girls remain at a loss as to the detention of the two girls without charges for almost two years.[13]


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