The Lanka Academic

MAY 13, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 38

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War efforts lead to further drain on Sri Lankan economy
NDTV, May 14. The Sri Lankan government says that it urgently needs Rs. 12 billion to fund its war effort. According to the government, the war is costing Sri Lanka Rs. 50 billion a year that is over five per cent of the country's GDP. The last 17 years of conflict have severely drained the Sri Lankan economy and the government has had to take some tough decisions. Already the cumulative cost of battle has forced a 10 per cent hike in liquor and tobacco prices as well as a one percent increase in the national defence levy. The country's tax payers now have to pay 6.5 per cent of their income to support the war effort. Despite this being the second such hike in three years, few are complaining. More..

India assumes 'readiness posture' as fighting rages in Jaffna
Deccan Herald, May 13. India`s national interest in Sri Lanka lies in three areas. Ensuring no extra-regional power gains foothold in Sri Lanka. Ensuring the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka. Finally, to see there is no contradiction in India`s stand on international terrorism. More..

Battling the wind gods Wild winds and daredevil fishermen mark our route to Sri Lanka
Ottawa Citizen. GALLE, Sri Lanka - Finally released from the clutches of the Nicobarian police force, we scurried on our way to Sri Lanka without feeling any of the normal feelings of apprehension that come with undertaking a long ocean passage. More..

Regrets only - Editorial
Ottawa Citizen. Canadian politicians, in a blatant search for votes here at home, hide behind the cloak of multiculturalism when challenged for lending their moral support to an association their own security agency has identified as supporting -- whether directly or indirectly -- the very terrorists fighting the democratically elected government of another Commonwealth country.

Shame on them. More..

S.Lankan troops hold on to ''deserted'' Jaffna
MSNBC, May 13. Sri Lankan troops repulsed attacks by Tamil Tigers on the outskirts of Jaffna city on Saturday, but the rebels said they were holding key approaches to the cultural capital of their would-be homeland. The government said life was normal in the capital of the war-scarred northern Jaffna peninsula, and aid agencies said there was no evidence of a mass exodus. ''Civilians were moving when the curfew was lifted this morning, but it's difficult to say how many and where they were going,'' the head of mission of a medical aid group said by phone from Colombo. ''But we are not seeing a mass exodus.'' More..

The Telegraph May 14. There is a sudden lull in Jaffna with the Tigers unable to break through the Lankan army's defences on the outskirts of the town.

According to defence commentator Taraki, the LTTE does appear to have been checkmated for the moment, thanks to relentless strafing by the Israeli-built Kfir fighter bombers.

"They seem to be helpless against the carpet-bombing of their positions by the deadly Kfirs. Possibly they will try to break out of their bunkers during a lull. Strafing cannot go on endlessly, they would be hoping," he said. More..

Grim battle on, Colombo denies reports of exodus
The Hindu, May 14. Barring attempts by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to breach Sri Lankan defence lines near Jaffna town, it was a day of relative low-intensity warfare in the island's northern peninsula, as the latest rebel offensive to retake Jaffna entered the fourth day. More..

Allow vital drugs to enter Jaffna, WHO appeals to warring parties
Hindustan Times, May 13. THE WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has appealed to the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers to allow medical supplies to enter the conflict zone. More..

Tipnis briefs Cabinet on Lanka
Times Of India, May 14. The Cabinet Committee on Security on Saturday heard a first-hand military assessment of the fast-developing situation in Sri Lanka from the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis. The possibility of involvement by extra-regional forces in response to the Sri Lankan SOS has been a major preoccupation with Indian policy makers. This was a factor that weighed heavily in 1987 when the Indian Peace Keeping Force went into action. More..

India extends ban on LTTE
Times Of India, May 14. As Sri Lanka's civil war rages, neighboring India has extended a ban on the Tamil Tiger rebels blamed for the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. But India's refusal to step into the battleground has earned it bitter criticism in Sri Lanka. More..

Sinhala parties oppose devolution of powers
Times Of India, May 14. The ruling People's Alliance (PA) and the main opposition United National Party (UNP) arrived at a consensus that although certain powers should be devolved to regional units, key areas should be retained by the central government. More..

War-scarred refugees bide their time in TN camp
Times of India, May 14. MANDAPAM, Tamil Nadu: A four-hour journey from Tarapuram to Mannar town, which involved a trek through jungles echoing with shell fire; a long, secret hunt for an agent who could ferry him across the shores and then a six-hour nightlong ride in a boat, with biscuits for dinner. All with fear in his heart and a small family -- wife and a 3-year-old son -- in tow. That's how 37-year-old M. Sukku made his crossing and touched the Indian shores on May 9. More..

Lankan Tamils differ on nature of help sought from India
Times of India, Sunday 14 May 2000. Tamil parties remain divided on the extent of support they should be seeking. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) which met the Indian High Commissioner, Shiv Shankar Menon in Colombo on Friday, pitched for three main demands: Security for the local Tamil population Jaffna, medicine and food supply, and protection for civilians in the eventuality of a withdrawal by the Sri Lankan army.

The Eelam People's Democratic Party, led by Douglous Devanand, has been more demanding, seeking humanitarian, military intervention in Jaffna on the lines of Tanzania's intervention in Uganda and Vietnam's move into Cambodia, both of which were upheld by the United Nations. "The lives of civilians are in danger, the only way to help the situation is by intervening militarily," Dr Wigneswara, spokesperson for EPDP, said. More..

US offers to mediate in Lanka conflict
Times of India, Sunday 14 May 2000. The US has joined the growing number of nations offering to mediate in the raging conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), if requested by both sides.

The US administration has designted the LTTE as a "terrorist organisation," while India is expected to announce extension of the ban on the guerrilla outfit tomorrow. More..

The war destroying Sri Lanka
BBC, Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK. Major Krishantha keeps his prize souvenir from a battle at Pallai military base in a locker by his hospital bed. It is a large jagged piece of shrapnel which slammed through his stomach as mortars rained down on the advancing troops. Like all the soldiers in the hospital ward, fretting in their pyjamas, he cannot wait to get back to the front line. But by the time his injury heals, no one knows where that will be. More..

Authorities Briefly lift Jaffna Curfew
May 13. NEW DELHI, India (AP) - As hundreds of people fled northward to escape a feared assault from Tamil rebels, the Sri Lankan military briefly lifted a curfew in northern Jaffna town Saturday to help nearly 500,000 residents stock food and other necessities.

In Colombo, the capital of this small island nation off India's southern coast, President Chandrika Kumaratunga called a Monday meeting of leaders of all political parties to discuss the latest fighting in the north, state-run radio said. More..

President Kumaratunga to hold all-party meet on war situation
May 13. Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga has called a meeting of all major political parties on Monday to discuss the war situation in northern Jaffna. This is the first time that an all party meeting has been called after the government lost some key bases, including Elephant Pass, late last month.

There is also the problem posed by extreme right-wing Sinhala groups who are opposed to any move towards federalism. Mr. Gamini Weerakoon, editor of The Island remarked, "Tell me about fringe groups -- these are formed by very respected people, who feel that the interests of the Sinhalese are being sacrificed by the majority parties for a political solution." More..

Pakistan denies sending arms to Sri Lanka
ABC News. 05/13/2000 10:29:00 ET Pakistan on Saturday denied Indian media reports that it was sending arms to Sri Lanka to help the Colombo government fight separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas. More..

Sri Lanka arrests 3 suspected of rumour mongering
ABC News. 05/13/2000 01:53:00 ET Three people were arrested in Sri Lanka suspected of spreading rumours in support of the Tamil Tiger rebels fighting government troops, the state-run Daily News said on Saturday. More..

Chandrika calls all-party meet
India Times, May 13. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga will apprise the political leaders of the situation in Jaffna peninsula following the assault mounted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the soldiers. More..

Indian Army monitoring Lanka developments
Times of India, May 13. The Indian Army is closely monitoring the developments in Sri Lanka, including matters relating to supply of arms by countries like Pakistan to the island nation, Army Chief General VP Malik said on Saturday. More..

Sri Lankan Govt denies civilian exodus; army repulses fresh attacks
The Express. Sri Lankan Government today denied report of mass exodus of civilian people from northern Jaffna town and said its troops repulsed 'desperate' attacks by the LTTE rebels at the Columbuthurai and other areas in Jaffna Peninsula and northern Vanni in which three soldiers and 11 Tamil Tigers were killed, reports PTI. More..

US in touch with Sri Lanka, India
The Hindu, May 13. The United States is in close touch with Sri Lanka as well as India and Norway to help achieve a political solution to the crisis gripping the island nation, sources in the State Department said. More..

T.N. CM clarifies stand on Eelam demand
Hindu, May 13. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today sought to clarify his stand on a separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, saying his statement that he would be happy if Eelam was achieved did not mean that he would raise his voice in support of the LTTE's separatist demand. More..

Battle For Jaffna Flares
Saturday May 13 6:34 AM ET. Sri Lankan residents fled Jaffna as Tamil guerrillas swooped at dawn on a military defense line today in their final push toward their former capital, officials and aid workers said.

``Troops repulsed this attack causing terrorists to withdraw with their casualties,'' Rubasinghe said in a fax to The Associated Press. He also said army snipers killed seven rebels today between nine and 15 miles east of Jaffna.

Rubasinghe claimed that life was normal in Jaffna despite the battles. ``Residents are not showing any sign of panic and continue their day to day activities,'' he said. More..

The Sri Lankan Crisis and India's Dilemma - Editorial Article
Frontline, May 13. The Sri Lankan state faces a crisi s of credibility, with its control over its whole northern territory - both the mainland North and the densely populated Jaffna Peninsula, which it took from the LTTE in 1995 - in grave jeopardy. More..

A strategic failure - A Feature Article
Frontline, May 13. The failure of the Sri Lankan security and intelligence establishment to evolve a strategy to infiltrate the LTTE and disrupt its ideological, training, research and operational infrastructure has led to the unbridled growth of the separatist organisation. More..

Against assistance - Feature Article
Frontline, May 13. INDIA should not send troops or arms to the Jaffna peninsula to help the beleaguered soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army - this was the unanimous response of political parties in Tamil Nadu to initial reports that New Delhi was considering Colombo's request for military assistance after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) overran major army camps and was poised for an assault on Jaffna. More...

India's policy dilemma
Frontline, May 13. IN the first week of May, with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) advancing towards Jaffna and the Sri Lankan government sending an SOS to New Delhi, India's foreign policy functionaries were caught in a dilemma.More..

Thousands Flee Jaffna Fearing Sri Lanka Rebel Move
Yahoo-Reuters, Saturday May 13 1:38 AM ET. Thousands of civilians have fled Sri Lanka's Jaffna as Tamil Tiger rebels prepare for a ``final assault'' on the heart of the northern city, cultural capital of minority Tamils. More..

The two realities
Frontline, May13. With the fall of Elephant Pass and with Jaffna threatened, there has got to be a paradigm shift for an end to the war. More..

Dangerous portents
Frontline, May 13. India has only limited options in Sri Lanka, but it can work as an impartial mediator to bring about peace. Only that would serve India's interest best. More..

The taking of Elephant Pass
Frontline, May 13. For the first time in the history of the 'Tamil Eelam war', the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has seized control of Elephant Pass, the gateway to the Jaffna Peninsula. A graphic account of the Tigers' strategy and its successful implementation. More..

ADVANTAGE LTTE - Feature Article
Frontline. The military gains made by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in recent weeks have taken it within striking distance of Jaffna. As a beleaguered Sri Lankan government resolves to fight on and appeals for help from "friendly countries", India f aces a serious policy dilemma. More..

Global child sacrifice in modern mould
Daily Pioneer. When the Sri Lankan Army counted the bodies, there were 49 dead. All were child fighters of the LTTE contingent - 32 of them girls between 11 and 15.

The Lankan soldiers have often described how they are forced to confront LTTE battallions of women, teenage girls and boys, sometime as young as even 10. But, even the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) is not blameless. There are reports of underage soldiers in paramilitary forces like the Lankan Home Guards. More..

Daily Press Briefing
US Dept. of State, Friday, May 12, 2000. QUESTION: Any update on the continuous violence in Sri Lanka? More...  

Sri Lankan Tamils reel under constant surveillance
NDTV. According to Mangala Samaraweeka, Media Minister of Sri Lanka, "Unfortunately when there is a war going on and when the terrorist organisation, the leader and those who bring bombs to Colombo, are Tamil, we have for the safety of the people and ourselves, and the city of Colombo, harass them but then rather than complain only to the government they must also raise their voices and tell Prabhakaran that enough is enough. Stop all this nonsense." More..

Cabinet Meeting to discuss Sri Lanka
NDTV. May 13 The union cabinet will be meeting later today amidst the backdrop of the crisis in Sri Lanka. It's likely that the Lankan issue will dominate the meeting with some of the BJP's Tamil allies having openly called for a lifting on the ban on the LTTE.

Jaffna: A thorn in the flesh
Outlook India. Jaffna: A thorn in the flesh India is worried about Islamabad's presence in its backyard and the situation has the potential to drag India deeper into a conflict which is something that it would like to avoid. But analysts say that if Jaffna peninsula is taken over by the LTTE then India will have no choice but to send its forces to beef up the Sri Lankan army. More..

Thousands flee as Sri Lanka battles enter Jaffna
Saturday, May 13 12:37 AM SGT. Residents were on the run in northern Sri Lanka Friday as fighting between government troops and Tamil rebels entered the key town of Jaffna, aid officials said.

Tamil civilians were seen carrying their belongings and fleeing further north from the town of Jaffna, the officials from humanitarian operations in the island said.

"People are leaving Jaffna in large numbers," one said quoting reports from the area. "The residents were taking advantage of the lifting of a curfew there today." More..

Lanka Minister's UK visit a quiet affair
Hindustan Times, May 12. The almost hush-hush and devoid-of-any-diplomatic-bustle visit to London of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is assumed to have been for seeking arms and humanitarian assistance from the British Government. More..

India had okayed Israel-Lanka deal
Hindustan Times, May 12. INDIA HAD acquiesced to the Israeli deal to sell seven of its Kfir ground attack fighters to the Sri Lankan Government. These planes had been sold from the Israeli Air Force's own reserve fleet and the Pentagon's green signal was given as they are fitted out with engines supplied by the United States. More..

The Telegraph, May 12. Douglas Devananda, leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party, and a supporter of the battle against the LTTE, said he had called up foreign minister Jaswant Singh and requested "some form of intervention: military, humanitarian, whatever you call it".

However, the ground situation continued to belie the rebels' claim. Though the LTTE had claimed yesterday that Jaffna was "as good as gone", a political commentator said he had received a call from Jaffna that suggested life was normal and no fighting was reported in the vicinity. More..

Sri Lankan Army destroys LTTE supply route
The Hindu, May 13. The Sri Lankan security forces today claimed that they have destroyed a ``main supply route'' and ``the main communication tower'' of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) near Pooneryn. More..

DMK for Tamil Eelam through war or talks
The Statesman. The DMK leader, Mr M Karunanidhi, says his party is in favour of a separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, "either through war or through negotiations". The statement, made in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today, is bound to embarrass the Vajpayee government, going as it does against the Prime Minister's stated position. More..

Is there more to Tipnis' trip?
Times of India, May 13. Sources at Temple Trees, the President's official residence in Colombo, say that Kumaratunga "dropped strong hints seeking Indian military support" during her tearful meeting, hour-long meeting with Tipnis.

At his meeting with the President the two are said to have had a general discussion on diverse issues such as the Sri Lankan air capacity and the President's desire to resolve the conflict and her personal sense of loss at the present situation. More..

India can't keep itself aloof
India Abroad, May 13. When the Sri Lankan crisis erupted, India helped the LTTE, adding to the burden of the Sri Lankan government. So India is also responsible for the problem that Sri Lanka is facing. The BJP should not narrow-mindedly think that these problems were created by the Congress government, but keep it in mind that the issue is concerned with India's future More..

India can't turn away from the Lankan problem: A fragmented Lanka spells trouble for India
India Abroad, May13. If Sri Lanka is fragmented, it is not good for India. It will be highly dangerous for Tamil Nadu. If a part of Sri Lanka comes under the control of LTTE, it is not good even for the Tamil population there.

That is why whenever LTTE gets an upper hand in Sri Lanka, many refugees are fleeing to Tamil Nadu. More..

India can't turn away from the Lankan problem: 'Parties have no concern for tamils in Lanka'
India Abroad, May 13. t is not true that the Sri Lankan army is engaged in fighting the Tamils. The clash in Sri Lanka is between the army and the LTTE, not an attack on Tamils. Here slogans are being raised: "Attacking the LTTE is the same as attacking the Tamils''. But that is not the fact. If their concern is really for the Sri Lankan Tamils, why haven't they condemned the murder of Tamil leaders like Amrithalingam, Padmanaba and leaders belonging to various Tamil groups by the LTTE? More..

Navy conducts limited exercises
Hindustan Times, May 12. THE EASTERN Fleet of the Indian Navy has conducted limited exercises involving a Kashin-class destroyer, Khukri-class corvettes, off-shore patrol vessels and the integral air element off the Chennai coast.

It is understood that the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have chalked out contingency plans keeping in view the intensified campaign of the Sri Lankan forces against the LTTE in Jaffna. More..

Air raids on Tiger positions intensified
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 12. Government spokesman Ariya Rubasinghe today dismissed LTTE claims that the rebels overran two military bases at Kovilakandy and Tanankilappu yesterday and were closing in on Jaffna City Centre. Fighting in the Ariyalai sector has left two officers and seven soldiers killed and 86 wounded. More..

Sri Lankan troops dent rebels' offensive
MSNBC, May 12. Sri Lanka said on Friday that its troops had dented the Tamil Tiger rebels' offensive on the battle-scarred Jaffna peninsula, cutting off their main supply route from the island nation's mainland.

In a joint operation security forces had destroyed the jetty at Sangupiddy, which links a spur from the mainland to the peninsula across the Jaffna lagoon. It said they had also destroyed a rebel communication centre in Pooneryn, which lies at the base of the spur. More..

India extends ban on LTTE
Times of India, May 12. The ban, imposed in the aftermath of assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was to expire on May 14. Sources said the ban was extended on the basis of documents that suggested that the concept of Eelam, a separate homeland for Tamils, could become a threat to India too.

DMK for separate homeland for Lankan Tamils
Times of India, May 12. DMK President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi told the Legislative Assembly: ``It will be a welcome situation if Tamil Eelam is formed either through talks or through a war in Sri Lanka.'' More..

Air Chief meets Jaswant
Indian Express: May 12.

Though, Air Marshal Tipnis was tightlipped, he is likely to brief the leadership here of the security situtation in Sri Lanka, fallout of the present fighting in Jaffna and views of Sri Lankan leaders on outside mediation to resolve the Tamil issue. More..

To the rescue of Lanka, how much, how far?
Indian Express, May 12. "Given the 80s experience of the Indian Peace keeping forces (IPKF), we can't send our forces...But I can't understand why we can't render military assistance to Sri Lanka, whose territorial integrity is threatened by an extremist, sectarian and secessionist organisation, which is banned in India," says Prof S D Muni, of the School of International studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University here. More..

Conditions grim as Sri Lanka war nears Jaffna-MSF
MSNBC, May 12. Living conditions in the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna have deteriorated rapidly since Tamil Tiger rebels pushed closer in their offensive against government troops, an aid agency said on Friday.

all but a few patients had been discharged from the city hospital -- which has about 1,000 beds -- because an army camp was nearby, and there was a shortage of medical supplies such as antibiotics and surgical materials. more...

Opposition leader says S.Lanka faces biggest crisis
MSNBC, May 12. The leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition party said on Friday the country faces its greatest crisis because of the fighting in the country's north and urged the government to look after the troops and civilians there.

''There are over 40,000 armed forces and police personnel stationed in the peninsula. Their families are concerned not only about their safety but also their welfare and transportation to and from Jaffna ... It should be our concern as well. More..

The Tamil Tigers close in
The Economist, May 13. The rumble of a country about to break up would rock not just Colombo but also Delhi, India's capital. It may not come to that. The Sri Lankan army could pull itself together. The Tigers' leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, will no doubt be tempted to declare independence if he takes Jaffna, but he may think better of it. More..

Sri Lanka: Victories for the Tigers
The Economist, May 9. The stunning military defeats suffered by the Sri Lankan army in recent weeks at the hands of Tamil Tiger separatists have pushed this once ignored civil war back on to the front pages of the world's newspapers. The spectacle of a supposedly modern, national army on the run from a small -- if well-armed -- guerrilla force has exposed a Sri Lankan military that is ill-prepared and a government that has been distant and disengaged. More..

Modern weapons to reach Jaffna in few weeks: Chandrika
Indian Express, May 12. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has exhorted country's army to fight hard to save the Jaffna Peninsula from LTTE, assuring that the most modern weapons, equipment and technology to "silence" rebels' guns will reach Jaffna in a few weeks' time, reports PTI.

Urging the embattled soldiers to fight hard to defend the Northern Peninsula, Chandrika, who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces, described the ongoing battle for the control of Jaffna as the most "Decisive Movement" in the history of the ethnic conflict. More..

Sri Lanka Troops Hang on to Jaffna
Yahoo-Reuters, Friday May 12 9:09 AM ET. State-owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said in a news bulletin monitored in Colombo that Sri Lankan air force jets had destroyed a rebel communication center in Pooneryn, which lies across a lagoon south of the Jaffna peninsula.

The leader of the main opposition party branded the intensifying war as the island nation's ``greatest crisis'' since independence in 1948 and urged the government to protect the 500,000 civilians on the battle-scarred peninsula. More..

Jaffna: the pride, prestige and prejudice
Indian Express, May 12. There is no great economic or geographic significance in Jaffna, but psychologically it is the centre of Eelam, Tamil intellectuals here say, adding that the loss of Jaffna in 1995 was a serious blow to the rebels. The guerrillas have now vowed to make amends and retake the region.

Energy Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte vowed in parliament Tuesday that soldiers would defend Jaffna to the last man and would also mount a fresh offensive to retake the Elephant Pass base located at the entrance to the peninsula. "We will fight to the last man and defend Jaffna," said Ratwatte who is also the junior defence minister. More..

Battle for Jaffna intensifies in Sri Lanka
Friday, May 12 (Colombo):. The Sri Lankan government spokesman and chief censor, Mr. Ariya Rubasinghe, said in a statement, "Terrorists in strength attacked the newly constructed defences in Ariyalai and directed a heavy volume of mortar fire on the troops. Due to this attack, troops had to readjust their defences temporarily."

Mr. Rubasinghe also said that the army had launched a counter-attack causing heavy casualties among the rebels. The government has cut off telephone services in Jaffna to prevent supporters of the LTTE from giving them information. More..

Tipnis concludes visit to Sri Lanka
The Hindu, 18.00 hrs (IST) on May 12, 2000. Briefing Colombo-based Indian reporters last night about his visit to Sri Lanka, Tipnis reiterated that his visit to Sri Lanka was a routine one and denied speculation that his stay had anything to do with the fighting between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE. More..

Govt. denies report of LTTE advance
18.00 hrs (IST) on May 12, 2000. Reports of rebel advance towards the Jaffna City Centre has been denied by the Government, which has been forced to readjust its defences temporarily in Ariyalai sector after heavy fighting. More..

Tamil Rebels Close on Jaffna
Friday May 12 4:53 AM ET. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels warned civilians today to flee the northern city of Jaffna, where their fighters advanced to the edge of their former capital and the government retreated from its latest defensive lines. More..

Jaffna's fall to Tamil rebels will destabilize South Asia
CBS-UPI, May 11, 2000 20:02. The formidable Tamil Tigers guerrillas looked set Thursday to inflict a catastrophic military defeat on the Sri Lankan government by capturing the key stronghold of Jaffna peninsula. If they succeed, the entire island nation will be dangerously destabilized and the political shock waves look certain to be felt throughout South Asia. More..

Sri Lanka troops "re-adjusted" defence lines in Ariyali
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 1440 Sri Lanka Time 12.05.00. Sri Lanka troops have "re-adjusted" their defence lines in Ariyali after fierce five hour gun battle. A media communique issued by the Special Media Information Unit said that the rebels attacked the newly constructed defences in Ariyali around 1.30 pm yesterday. " Terrorists directed a heavy volume of mortar fire on the troops. Due to this attack troops had to re-adjust their defences temporarily towards Colombuthurai East" the communique said. It said that subsequently troops launched a counter attack causing many casualties among the rebels. The rebels have also launched a simultaneous attack on Tanakillapu sector. " troops supported by MI-24 helicopter gunships and artillery fought back causing casualties among terrorists" the communique said. Two officers and seven soldiers have been killed and 86 injured in the fighting. The communique said rebels have suffered heavy casualties but gave no details

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