Is Eelam Inevitable? A commentry By Lasantha Wickrematunga
With a general election due in just five months, this situation could not
have been worse timed for Kumaratunga. With characteristic
impetuosity, under the guise of putting the country on a
she imposed stringent media censorship and draconian
to prevent political activity and criticism of her or her
There is little doubt in the public mind, however, that the
are focused entirely at propping up her failing popularity
the bitter truth from the Sri Lankan people.
Published: Thu May 18 23:50:12 EDT 2000
'Eelam won't harm India'
A London-based LTTE spokesman speaks to Outlook
Even as it gains militarily, the LTTE isn't willing to spell out its
post-military agenda. While refusing to give a formal
senior LTTE functionary in London spoke to Outlook about
role:"The battle has reached a crucial stage.
The Norwegian intervention has brought
hope. This has also helped lend credibility
to the LTTE. We're hoping India will
recognise the legitimacy of our struggle.
Published: Thu May 18 23:50:07 EDT 2000
Arms yes, men no
A cagey Islamabad is only prepared to go thus far
It's certainly not the best way for two states to come
together, but for decades Pakistan and Sri Lanka seem to have
worked on the "your enemy is my enemy" principle. But
rather strange confluence of interests and Pakistan's
the anti-India sentiments prevailing on the emerald island,
events in Sri Lanka have evoked little public interest.Many
observers here see the present threat to Colombo as being the
result of continued Indian assistance to the LTTE. Says former
defence secretary, Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood, "This
the backbone of the LTTE. But Colombo's mismanagement has also
played a role in the rebel gains."
Published: Thu May 18 23:50:03 EDT 2000
The compulsion of being a part of the NDA forces
the pro-Eelam DMK to turn back refugees
Outlook, May 22, 2000.
Contingencies of national politics have conspired
to force the DMK, a Dravidian party, to take a
position that contradicts and completely
undermines its long-held and much-cherished
pro-Eelam stance. "The DMK is now seen by Tamil groups as a
pro-Delhi party which has reneged on its commitment to Eelam.
Published: Thu May 18 23:49:57 EDT 2000
Tamil gangs on rise:
Blamed for 40 shootings
National Post, May18.
The police brief says an estimated 155,000 Sri Lankan
Tamils live in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and
"as these communities have grown, Tamil criminal
elements have also taken root."Tamil criminal
groups are involved in ... extortion,
home invasion, thefts, sales of contraband
the importation and trafficking of brown heroin,
trafficking of other drugs, arms trafficking, fraud,
production and sale of counterfeit passports,
migrant smuggling and attempted murders, bank and
casino frauds and money laundering.
Published: Thu May 18 23:49:49 EDT 2000
Page One News
LTTE enters Jaffna town, Lanka defence chief returns
after secret India mission
The Statesman, May19.
Small LTTE groups have entered
some Jaffna suburbs, the Sri Lankan government admitted
late tonight. But troops had repulsed the major wave
trying to break into the town, it said. Four soldiers
died in the
A government press release said a small group had managed
to infiltrate into populated areas of Valikamam East on
Jaffna's fringe. "Troops began a search operation ...
the early hours ... This operation is in progress ...
soldiers were killed and 21 wounded."
Published: Thu May 18 22:13:57 EDT 2000
Shelled airport between Tigers and prey
The Telegraph, May19.
Tamil Tiger guerrillas claimed to have taken
control over two strategic roads leading into
Jaffna and are pounding the Pallali airbase to cut
off supplies for 40,000 soldiers defending the
peninsula. The Sri Lankan government denied the
claim. With the battle for Jaffna intensifying
by the day,
the United States has decided to send its
under-secretary of state for political affairs,
Thomas Pickering, to Colombo. The decision
comes close on the heels of an American
willingness to mediate in the ethnic conflict.
Published: Thu May 18 22:01:57 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka in search and destroy drive as Tigers shell Jaffna air
Yahoo, LONDON, May 18.
Sri Lankan troops mounted a search and destroy mission against separatist
Tamil rebels who shelled a
strategically important air base for a second straight day Thursday,
diplomatic sources said.Government forces in the Indian Ocean island of Sri
Lanka launched the seach operation against the
separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelamin the Jaffna peninsula located
in the north of the country,
sources said.In a statement issued in the capital Colombo, the government
said a "small group of terrorists" had infiltrated
the suburban Jaffna areas of Walikamam East, where there was heavy fighting.
Published: Thu May 18 21:34:55 EDT 2000
LANKA: THE WAR WITHIN
The battle for Jaffna has reached a decisive stage with the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launching a high-intensity offensive against
the Sri Lankan army. Emboldened by its recent victories, especially the
capture of the crucial Elephant Pass, the LTTE has decided not to seek
political negotiations until the capture of Jaffna. The guerrilla group
knows pretty well that if it wants to negotiate from a position of
strength, it needs to have Jaffna in its kitty. The morale of the Sri
Lankan army is at an
all-time low, as its five-year long 'war for peace' strategy failed to
achieve any strategic advantage.
Published: Thu May 18 18:42:48 EDT 2000
Jaffna: Testing time
for New Delhi
If the Sri Lankan forces
manage to push back the
advancing LTTE cadres,
well and good. The
Government of India
will gain breathing time.
Still, its responsibilities
and obligations as, first,
the big neighbour of Sri
Lanka, second, as the
decision-maker for the
Tamils of Tamil Nadu,
and third, as a regional
power in this part of the
world, will not have
Published: Thu May 18 18:32:31 EDT 2000
Navy gears itself for Jaffna fallout
Even as Southern Naval Command prepares itself for all contingencies that
might arise due to the
ongoing fight in Sri Lanka, a ''quiet`` visit of the Sri Lankan Chief of
Defence Staff Gen Rohan De
Silva Daluvatte to India has sparked off intense speculation.
Sources suggest that Gen Daluvatte is in India ''shopping`` for several
items on the wish list of Sri
Lankan armed forces including communication equipment.Minesweepers, landing
tank ships and Kashin class destroyers have been positioned around the east
coast near Chennai. Contingency plans include using LSTs for establishing
beachheads for ground
troops or for evacuating people trapped along the coast.
Published: Thu May 18 18:23:29 EDT 2000
Lankan chief of defence on
secret visit to India
Asian Age, May19.
While no official version was available about the
purpose of the generalís visit, which included a
quick hop to Bangalore, Cochin and
Thiruvanathapuram, the media was led to believe
that he was on a pilgrimage with his family to seek
the blessings of Satya Sai Baba at Whitefield
near Bangalore ó- which is hard to believe
considering the crisis in Sri Lanka due to its civil
war with the LTTE.
Published: Thu May 18 18:16:42 EDT 2000
Tamil refugee-free week declared
with the setting up of the forward observation post, the boatmen,
ferrying the refugees, started dropping them on the sixth island in Sri
Lankan territorial waters. This created problems as Indian Navy and
Coast Guard personnel could not cross the international border. When
this was reported to the higher- ups, the Navy was given permission to
open fire at fleeing boatmen. This brought the refugee arrival to a halt.
As the LTTE is advancing towards Jaffna, the Tamils who helped the
Sri Lankan Army have also started moving towards Thalaimannar to
move into the Indian territory, according to highly placed sources.
Published: Thu May 18 18:10:29 EDT 2000
We are willing to talk: Kadirgamar
We are prepared to start talks even tomorrow morning if the LTTE
is willing to do so. We have said that and we do not go back on the
stand at all,'' the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman
Kadirgamar told Aaj Tak in Colombo.
Published: Thu May 18 18:07:45 EDT 2000
Jaffna precariously poised
The Sri Lankan forces may soon find the
pressure on Jaffna town unbearable, highly-placed sources in the
Government said today. According to these sources, some LTTE
cadres have already entered Jaffna in the last few days and a major
assault on the town may not be far away. In fact, defending Jaffna may
become untenable beyond ``a couple of days'', according to a
source.India, on its part, is ready with contingency plans. Indian
ships are set
to evacuate trapped Sri Lankan soldiers or Tamil refugees in case of an
LTTE thrust into Jaffna. Meanwhile, the combined Navy and Coast
Guard surveillance exercise, code- named `Tasha', gathered further
momentum with another Coast Guard ship joining the vigil around
Published: Thu May 18 18:05:31 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka resists incursions
Hindu, may 18.
With the rebels maintaining a multi-pronged attack on key Army
positions in Jaffna, simultaneous fighting is being reported from
several theatres of war. At stake in the north are the Jaffna town, the
Palaly base complex, Point Pedro and Kankesanthurai. The Palaly
airfield is considered the ultimate target as control over it would
seriously impair troop and supply movement to the peninsula.
Published: Thu May 18 18:01:22 EDT 2000
India keeping a close watch on Sri Lanka,
Chennai, May 18.
THE BJP general secretary Venkaiah Naidu today said India was
keeping a close watch on the ground realities in Sri Lanka.
None of the allies in the NDA government at the Centre, especially
from Tamil Nadu, are dissatisfied with the government's decision not
to extend military support to the island nation, he said, adding
allies would not do something to force the Centre to intervene
Lanka. Meanwhile, senior Canadian officials today met MDMK
chief Vaiko to
discuss the Sri Lankan crisis, particularly to understand the
from the standpoint of the Tamils.
Published: Thu May 18 17:49:46 EDT 2000
Censorship makes scribes
read between lines
The government's lines on "strategic
repositioning", "effective relocation" and
"change of line of attack", may well, imply,
that the Tigers have had their day of triumph
in the heavy exchange of mortar in the
Published: Thu May 18 17:41:48 EDT 2000
Tight security in Sri
BBC, Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK.
Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Tight security in Sri
Security has been tightened after the blast
Security has been tightened across
Sri Lanka following Wednesday's
bomb attack in the town of
Batticaloa, which killed 23 people and
injured 75. A curfew has been declared in
Batticaloa and all reports of the
bombing have been censored. The government said that it had
censored the news in order to prevent
a backlash from the majority Sinhala
Published: Thu May 18 17:26:26 EDT 2000
Ethnic crisis in Lanka: EU statements
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 18.
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told reporters here on
Tuesday that he found some of the recent statements emanating from
the EU "quaint and fanciful, and not being grounded in facts,
objectionable." Indian officials privately wonder what the EU is
especially intrigued the timing of the latest statement released in
Brussels on Monday. "It is weird," an official, who did not want
named, said.The Indians as well as the Sri Lankans have noticed
that the latest
statement does not mention the LTTE, while there has been no
compunction about mentioning the Sri Lankan government and
rapping it for imposing restrictions on Press freedom and civil
liberties as part of the war effort.
Published: Thu May 18 14:25:47 EDT 2000
LTTE set to take Jaffna,
Army's supply line under fire
Times Of India, May 18.
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels
Thursday said they had control over two
strategic roads leading into Jaffna and were
pounding the military's only airport in the
region to cut off supplies for 40,000 troops
defending the northern Jaffna peninsula.The clandestine Voice
of Tigers Radio said
seven Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in the
attack on Palali airport where between six to
10 artillery shells were fired. "The fighting
formation of the Liberation Tigers attacked
the Palali airport with artillery today killing
seven Sinhalese soldiers," said the broadcast
monitored in the northern town of Vavuniya,
according to residents reached by telephone.
Published: Thu May 18 14:10:49 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka Govt. debunks LTTE claim
Hindu, May 18.
The Sri Lankan Government has
debunked the LTTE claim that fierce onslaught by its cadres
forced government troops to abandon a military complex at
Kaithadi in Ariyali sector, saying that the Army has no major
base in the area and that only defence lines have been
re-adjusted. Military sources in Colombo said there is no
base at Kaithadi as claimed by the LTTE yesterday. Kaithadi
lies five-kms from the entry point to Jaffna. In the face of this
denial comes another claim by the rebels that they fired six
artillery shells today at Palay air base.
Published: Thu May 18 14:00:46 EDT 2000
Rebels strafe Palaly airport, Army Garrison
Hindu, May 18.
Tamil rebels pounded a strategically
important Palaly airport and nearby Army Garrison in Jaffna
peninsula for a second straight day today, though the Sri
Lankan Government said that troops continued to push back
LTTE guerrillas.Reports reaching here from the fighting zone said
carried out the long-range attacks either with an 81-mm mortar
bomb or a 122-mm artillery gun.
Published: Thu May 18 13:52:15 EDT 2000
S.Lanka takes steps to avert
''backlash'' after bomb
Sri Lanka said on
Thursday it feared an ''ethnic backlash''
against the Tamil minority after a bomb
blast that killed 22 people, and called on
the country to protect them from
extremists of the majority Sinhala
community. The Special Media Information Centre said in a
statement that the government was calling on all citizens to
protect innocent Tamils after Wednesday's blast near a
Buddhist temple. It blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for the
and said it appeared to have been timed to cause ethnic
Published: Thu May 18 11:18:24 EDT 2000
Ghosts and spirits
are everywhere - A book review
Irish Times, May 18.
Novelist Michael Ondaatje has been haunted all his
life: by his father's alcoholism, his Sri Lankan
roots, and childhood dreams. Now his new work -
appropriately titled Anil's Ghost - cannot escape
the spectre of its famous predecessor, The
but wrote about
it anyway: The
coffin was too
small, 'so they
had to build a
new one in the
couldn't get out,
'so they had to
break the doors
down' - a
Published: Thu May 18 09:54:56 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka Buddhist festival blast toll reaches 29
Yahoo, Thursday, May 18 4:21 PM SGT.
The powerful bomb blast that ripped through a Buddhist feast in eastern Sri
Lanka killed 29 people and
wounded 80, doctors said Thursday.
The explosion occurred near a temple in Batticaloa on Wednesday where
people were witnessing an illuminated
coloured structure to mark the Buddhist feast of Wesak, the holiest day in
the Buddhist calendar, officials said.
Almost all the victims were members of the minority Tamil community who
were witnessing the Buddhist
structure which is generally associated with the majority Sinhalese
Published: Thu May 18 09:17:32 EDT 2000
More rebel shells hit Sri Lanka
MSNBC, May 18.
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger
rebels on Thursday fired at least six shells
at an air base which provides a lifeline for
tens of thousands of troops in the war-torn
Jaffna peninsula, officials said by phone.
They said details were not
immediately available, but initial reports
suggested some people may have died in
the artillery attack.
Published: Thu May 18 09:14:38 EDT 2000
Tamil rebels claim capture of
strategic Sri Lankan military base
MSNBC, May 18.
rebels said today they had captured a
strategic military base outside Jaffna city,
threatening the main supply route for
government troops defending the northern
peninsula. ''The strategically important Kaithady garrison
its heavily fortified military bases fell to the fighting
of the Liberation Tigers after 12 hours of ferocious combat,''
the rebels said in a statement posted on their Web site.
Published: Thu May 18 09:13:27 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan general on secret trip to
MSNBC, May 18.
Sri Lanka's chief of
defence staff is on a secret visit to India
that may include asking New Delhi for
logistical support for troops fighting Tamil
Tiger rebels, the Indian Express
newspaper said on Thursday. The newspaper quoted defence
experts in the Indian
navy's southern command as saying Daluwatte could be trying
to get logistical support for troops trapped on the Jaffna
''All possibilities minus a direct involvement by India
might be discussed,'' the paper quoted defence experts as
Published: Thu May 18 09:11:33 EDT 2000
Army says it repulsed fresh rebel attack in Jaffna Peninsula
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 17.15 Sri Lanka Time 18.05.2000.
The Media unit said today that the Army had repulsed fresh attacks by tamil
rebels. )7 soldiers have been injured in the last 24 hours of fighting the
communique which was issued this morning said.
Published: Thu May 18 08:46:16 EDT 2000
Rebels fire artillery at Palali
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 17.18 Sri Lanka Time 18.05.2000.
Tamil rebels have fired seven rounds of artillery at the Palali air force
base killing 08 soldiers and wounding 28 others senior military officials
in palali said. The officers said it was the second attack on palali in 24
hours. Last night the rebels fired three artillery shells at Wasavilan
adjacent to the Palali base.
Published: Thu May 18 08:46:16 EDT 2000
What Sri Lanka Crisis??
Published: Thu May 18 00:56:36 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan rebels target airport in drive to
CNN, May 18, 2000.
Artillery shells threatened the supply line for
government troops battling Tamil Tiger rebels for the northern Sri
Lankan city of
Jaffna on Wednesday, as the rebel troops bombarded Jaffna peninsula's
Published: Wed May 17 23:41:47 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan Rebels Say Overran Military
Yahoo, Wednesday May 17 9:31 PM ET.
The Tigers said in a statement released in London on
Wednesday night that their commandos had stormed
over defense lines at the Kaithadi military complex,
about three miles from the entrance to Jaffna city.The
LTTE statement also said more than 100 government soldiers had been
killed and several hundreds wounded in the 12-hour long attack on Kaithadi.
Published: Wed May 17 21:47:41 EDT 2000
Times of India.
Indian naval commandos keep vigil at the Forward Observation Post at Land's End
(Aritchalmunai) at the tip of the mainland.
Published: Wed May 17 20:45:14 EDT 2000
Kaithady military complex falls to LTTE, over 100
The Pioneer, May 17.
The LTTE today claimed to have killed over 100 Sri Lankan troops and
overrun the military complex at Kaithady, about five km away
entry point of Jaffna peninsula.
The LTTE said in a statement here that the strategically
garrison town with its heavily fortified military bases came
under its control
after fierce fighting which lasted 12 hours.
Published: Wed May 17 20:32:22 EDT 2000
Dancing with tigers
Mr. Martin and Ms. Minna think the dinner
commemorated the "Tamil New Year" and denied that
the dinner was a FACT fundraiser for the Tamil
Tigers, the terrorist organization that is
fighting for a
separate ethnic state in northern Sri Lanka.
Ms. Minna was nonchalant: "we can't judge if
one or two individuals who may be involved with
This insistence that FACT is a normal,
group dedicated to celebrating the culture and
achievements of Tamil-Canadians is alarming.
Published: Wed May 17 20:30:16 EDT 2000
Tamil Tigers' leader
poised for dramatic
Mysterious mastermind: Fought Sri
Lankan army to a standstill over the
past 15 years
It's said Mr. Prabhakaran used to immerse himself in
sacks of hot chilies to teach himself to
and that he has methodically purged his
of rivals, while ordering the arrest, torture and
execution of Tamils who even mildly criticize
him. By the time he was 19, Mr. Prabhakaran had gained
fame, power and prestige, by assassinating the
of Jaffna and plastering the Jaffna peninsula with
posters proudly proclaiming his personal
responsibility for the killing.
Published: Wed May 17 20:27:10 EDT 2000
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's
(LTTE) international organization
and operations - a preliminary
Peter Chalk, Canadian Security Intelligence Service,
March 17, 2000.
The ZDI incident graphically demonstrates the global reach of the LTTE,
widely recognized to be one of the
most proficient and dangerous guerrilla/terrorist groups in the world. In
large part, this reputation is owed to the
extremely sophisticated international network that has been built by the
organization to sustain its 26 year-long
struggle against the Colombo Government for the creation of an independent
state of Tamil Eelam.(4)
The purpose of this Commentary is to analyze the scope and dimension of
this transnational support
infrastructure. The document will offer insights into the modus operandi of
the LTTE international network, the
main personalities and front organizations behind it, and the various ways
in which it facilitates the LTTE guerilla
and terrorist campaign in north-eastern Sri Lanka.
Published: Wed May 17 20:14:54 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka protests
Martin, Minna speaking
at Tamil dinner
High commissioner asked to
National Post, May 11.
The government of Sri Lanka summoned Ruth
Archibald, Canada's high commissioner in Colombo,
to a meeting yesterday to protest the conduct
ministers, who spoke at the event in Toronto last
Saturday. The $60-a-plate banquet was
organized by the
Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils
(FACT), which was identified in a report by
State Department last week as a "front" for the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Published: Wed May 17 20:11:16 EDT 2000
Lanka to keep scribes off
House session on war
Times of India, May 18.
Journalists will be barred from
covering special Parliament sessions which will
be held every week to discuss the Tamil
separatist war in the north. Unable to censor parliamentary
government agreed to meet once a week to
discuss the war on the condition that even
clerks who take notes of the proceeding for
records are banned.
Published: Wed May 17 20:05:57 EDT 2000
Indian Dilemma - An editorial
Hindustan Times, In Sri Lanka, this time around, India faces a.
Psychologically, there is the memory of a prolonged and
military stalemate even after a politically acceptable accord
stitched up with the formal consent of all parties concerned.
the India-Sri Lanka Agreement (ISLA) of 1987 blew up on our face.
Published: Wed May 17 19:38:29 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan Tamils unhappy at
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 17.
n Colombo, TULF MP Joseph Pararajasimgham, said perhaps Mr.
Karunanidhi had come under pressure from the Centre which had
expressly opposed the creation of a separate Eelam and had
extended the ban on the LTTE. But the Director of the Centre for
Policy Alternatives, Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, felt that Mr.
Karunanidhi's statement could mean that Tamil Nadu's political
ground was being prepared for an Indian intervention in Sri
the situation was conducive to it."
Published: Wed May 17 19:34:24 EDT 2000
UNICEF chief deplores use of child
soldiers in Sri Lanka
Orientation, 17 May 2000 23:25 GMT.
he head of the UN Children's Fund hit out
Wednesday at the use of children as
"instruments of war" in conflict-plagued
Sri-Lanka.Despite a commitment by the rebels of the separatist Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) not to recruit
children under 17 years, the practice appeared to be continuing, the
Published: Wed May 17 19:28:29 EDT 2000
ground in Sri
Sri Lankan troops,
battling to keep control of the northern
Jaffna peninsula, lost some ground in
fierce attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels,
military officials said on Wednesday.THEY SAID by
Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
rebels pressed on with
attacks on army
troops back in several
places after launching
what the LTTE said was its "decisive battle" for
Jaffna on Monday.
Published: Wed May 17 19:22:05 EDT 2000
Health Crisis Exists in Sri Lanka
Yahoo, May 17.
The health situation of the civilian population in
war-torn northern Sri Lanka is under severe threat and has reached alarming
proportions, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Published: Wed May 17 19:18:10 EDT 2000
23 killed in Batticaloa temple
Times of India, May 17.
At least 23 people were killed and
over 70 injured in a suspected LTTE bomb
attack near a Buddhist temple in eastern
Batticaloa Wednesday even as fighting raged on
in Jaffna. The powerful blast ripped through a crowded
pandal where people were celebrating Vesak, a
Buddhist festival, officials said. The dead
included six children and three policemen.
Published: Wed May 17 17:38:56 EDT 2000
India has a key role in Sri Lanka, says Inderfurth
Hindu, May 17.
Laying out the administration's view of the current crisis in
Sri Lanka, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Mr. Karl F.
Inderfurth, made categorically clear in a conversation at his office
the United States would not at all entertain any notions such as that of the
LTTE of a separate state of Tamil Eelam. ``We would not, nor do we believe
that the international community would, recognise a unilateral assertion of
Published: Wed May 17 17:35:25 EDT 2000
Tigers zeroing in on Palaly airbase
Hindu, May 17.
In a combined show of firepower and urban
terror-bombing, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) today stepped
up pressure on security forces in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.
While in the north the rebels trained their field guns at the Palaly air-base
around noon today, in the east, at least 17 persons were killed and 63
when a powerful explosion ripped the coastal Batticaloa town this evening.
Information reaching Colombo indicates that the Tigers are zeroing in on
Palaly, with three shells reportedly landing within close reach of the Army's
high-security zone. The airfield, however, remained out of the range of rebel
fire with the Government denying reports that the Palaly runway was hit.
movement is normal from Palaly,'' a senior Government officer said. ``No
damage has been caused to the airfield.''
Published: Wed May 17 17:32:55 EDT 2000
LAcNet launches 'The Lanka Academic'
Ceylon Daily News, May 17, Colombo.
Lanka Academic Network, a non-profit organization based
in the United States, and composed of a virtual community of
Sri Lankans has launched the first ever Internet-Sri Lankan
newspaper with 24 hour news updates. The Lanka Academic
is freely accessible to anyone with Internet facilities, and will
carry news reports updated instantaneously round the clock by
international and Sri Lankan reporters.
Published: Wed May 17 13:44:35 EDT 2000
Islamabad reaffirms support to Colombo
Dawn, May 17.
"The charter of the United Nations as well as the SAARC make it incumbent upon
all members (States) to respect the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of other
States" and added "interference in internal affairs is
Published: Wed May 17 13:25:06 EDT 2000
Daily Press Briefing
US State Dept., Tuesday, May 16, 2000.
QUESTION: How much interest is the US taking in solving the
bloody war in Sri Lanka and also if anybody from this
Department is in touch with the Sri Lanka Government?
Published: Wed May 17 13:19:39 EDT 2000
Curfew imposed in Batticaloa
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17.
The State today imposed an indefinite curfew at Batticaloa, in Sri Lanka's
East. The curfew came into effect soon after a bomb exploded in the heart
of Batticaloa's town area. The explosion took place around 5.45 p.m. this
evening. Sources are unable to say who is responsible for the bomb.
Published: Wed May 17 12:11:13 EDT 2000
17 killed, 63 injured in bomb explosion in Sri Lanka's East
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.25 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17.
Seventeen people including children were killed when a bomb exploded close
to the Batticaloa police station this evening. A crowd had gathered at the
spot to view a vesak pandal at the temple nearby when the explosion
occured. Sixty three other persons are reported injured including nearly
two dozen security personnel. The Chief of the Batticaloa police station
is also reported killed. The bomb is believed to have been fixed to a
Published: Wed May 17 11:35:11 EDT 2000
Buddhist holiday blast kills 23, Sri Lanka resists Jaffna
Yahoo, Wednesday, May 17 10:39 PM SGT.
Tamil Tiger rebels bombed a Buddhist feast in eastern Sri Lanka Wednesday,
killing 23 and wounding 75
people as security forces resisted a rebel advance in the island's north,
the government said.
The blast occurred near a Buddhist temple in the town of Batticaloa where
people were witnessing an
illuminated coloured structure to mark the Buddhist feast of Wesak which is
the most important Buddhist
holiday, officials said.
International aid officiasl who rushed to the main hospital in Batticaloa,
300 kilometres (187 miles) east
of here, said 15 people had died on the spot and among them were five
children below the age of eight
Published: Wed May 17 11:26:28 EDT 2000
Bombing at Buddhist celebration kills 14 in Sri Lanka
Yahoo, Wednesday, May 17 9:26 PM SGT.
The blast occurred near a Buddhist temple in the town of Batticaloa where
people were witnessing a
coloured structure to mark the Buddhist feast of Wesak which is the most
important Buddhist holiday,
officials said.Police said they suspected that the powerful bomb may have
been planted inside the portable freezer of
an ice cream vendor in the town of Batticaloa, 300 kilometrs (187 miles)
east of the capital Colombo.
Published: Wed May 17 11:22:30 EDT 2000
Bomb explodes at Batticaloa
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17.
A bomb exploded in the heart of Sri Lanka's Eastern city Batticaloa, at
5.45 p.m. this evening. The explosion took place close to the Batticaloa
police station. It is believed that children were among 6 soldiers killed
in the blast. Exact casualty figures are not yet known. Sources said that
shooting too was heard after the explosion.
Published: Wed May 17 11:18:42 EDT 2000
Chandrika discusses autonomy proposals
Hindu, May 17.
Amid heavy fighting in northern
Jaffna, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and
leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickramasinghe held talks to
reach a consensus on providing constitutional guarantees to
autonomy proposals to be submitted to the LTTE at a later
Published: Wed May 17 11:17:08 EDT 2000
Bomb blast in Sri
At least 17 people have been killed in a bomb
explosion in eastern Sri Lanka.
Details are still coming in, but officials say the
bomb went off during a Buddhist religious
celebration in the eastern town of Batticaloa.
A senior police officer was reported to be
among those killed.
It is not known who carried out the attack,
although previous such attacks have been
blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels.
Published: Wed May 17 10:52:42 EDT 2000
Jaffna civilians run the gauntlet of Tigers and troops
Yahoo, May 17.
The nearly half a million Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka run the
gauntlet of government troops and
Tamil Tiger rebels battling for control of the key town of Jaffna,
according to aid officials.
People queued outside shops to stock up on food supplies Tuesday during a
brief break in the curfew in
Jaffna, where thousands of government soldiers are resisting a fresh
offensive by the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The government insists that no food or medicine shortages exist in the
peninsula but aid workers say
prolonged fighting could disrupt the distribution system and cause serious
shortages for the civilians.
"Residents can hear firing and at the same time there is no exodus of
people from the area," said an aid
official who is in radio contact with staff in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250
miles) north of the capital
Published: Wed May 17 10:46:51 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka says Tiger drive on Jaffna stalled with air, sea attacks
Sri Lankan aircraft and tanks beat back waves of Tamil rebel assaults by
killing at least 39 Tiger
guerrillas who tried to breach army defences near the town of Jaffna, the
government said Wednesday.
Troops backed by aircraft and artillery guns pounded formations of the
separatist Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Columbuthurai and Kaithady overnight, the government
said in a statement.
"Troops manning defences observed over 30 terrorist dead bodies ahead of
the defences," the statement
said adding that another nine rebels were killed when troops smashed a
rebel bunker near Navatkuli.
Published: Wed May 17 10:44:12 EDT 2000
Terror on Sri Lankan
The victims lay buried
in the soil. They were
farming folk. And the
same tools they lived
by were used to
The survivors are
traumatised. They are
from the majority
ethnic group in Sri
Lanka, the Sinhalese,
but found themselves
on land claimed by the Tamil guerrillas and
have now paid the price.
Tee Manike lost three of her four children.
"They were cut up," she said, "and the men
who did this must be destroyed."
Published: Wed May 17 10:38:24 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka seeks K P S Gill's services
Hindu, May 17.
Haunted by the LTTE onslaught on
Jaffna, the Sri Lankan Government has invited former Punjab
police chief K P S Gill to advise it on anti-terrorist measures,
particularly in Colombo.
While the super-cop, credited with crushing terrorism in
Punjab, declined to divulge the exact nature of the new
assignment, Colombo is believed to have sought his assistance
in strengthening security measures for VVIPs in Colombo,
where the LTTE had successfully carried out several
assassinations and suicide attacks in the past.
Published: Wed May 17 10:22:43 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka repulses several LTTE attacks
A day after Tamil Tiger rebels launched a fresh offensive near Jaffna,
the Sri Lankan army is claiming that
it has effectively repulsed several
LTTE attacks. The army says it managed
to push back the rebels with
the help of artillery fire, helicopter
gunships and Israel-made fighter
Published: Wed May 17 10:15:37 EDT 2000
Sri Lankan troops face fresh
pressure in Jaffna
MSNBC, May 17.
Sri Lankan troops,
battling to keep control of the northern
Jaffna peninsula, were staving off fierce
attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels on
Wednesday. The rebels said on Tuesday they had overrun military
positions at Navatkuli and Thatchantoppu, just east of
Jaffna city, and were advancing north to Kaithadi after
launching a huge artillery and mortar bomb attack on the
army base there.
The government, meanwhile, accused the LTTE of
shelling heavily populated areas in a bid to push out the
city's 100,000 civilians.
Published: Wed May 17 10:08:38 EDT 2000
Artillery shells fall on main Sri
Lankan military airport in Jaffna
rebels fired artillery at the Sri Lankan
military's only airport in embattled Jaffna
today, threatening the supply line for
government troops in the peninsula,
Meanwhile, authorities blamed the
rebels for an explosion today that killed
17 in an eastern Sri Lanka town. The shells were from a 122
mm artillery gun, which
can hit targets within a range of 10 miles, military officials
reached by telephone said.
Published: Wed May 17 10:06:46 EDT 2000
Tamil rebel attack
BBC, Wednesday, 17 May, 2000, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK.
successfully repulsed an attack by Tamil Tiger
rebels just east of Jaffna Town.
At least 39 rebels were said to have been
killed in their latest attempt to capture their
former stronghold in the north.
There are no independent confirmations of
the report as journalists are banned from the
The BBC's Susannah Price says that
although Tigers said last week they would
launch their final assault on Jaffna, they have
so far failed to make any significant impact
inside the town.
Published: Wed May 17 10:00:25 EDT 2000
Tamil conflict at India's doorstep
t's been called India's Vietnam. And as Sri Lanka's civil war
continues to escalate off India's southern coast, the 17-year
conflict threatens to draw in its larger neighbor once again.
For the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Elam (LTTE), the tiny
Jaffna Peninsula at the tip of the teardrop-shaped island
symbolizes the collective desire for an ethnic homeland. The
mainly Hindu Tamils say they are fighting discrimination by the
majority Buddhist Sinhalese. United since British colonial rule,
tensions between them increased after independence in 1948.
Published: Wed May 17 09:53:17 EDT 2000
Rebels Attack Sri Lanka Airport
Tamil Tiger rebels fired three
artillery shells at the Sri Lankan military's only
airport in Jaffna
today, threatening the supply line for government troops
peninsula, military officials said.
The shells exploded at the Palali airport, the main ammunition and petroleum
storage facility in the peninsula.
The shells were from a 122 mm artillery gun, which can hit targets within
a range of
10 miles, military officials reached by telephone said.
There was no immediate report on casualties or damage.
Published: Wed May 17 09:51:27 EDT 2000
President vows peace in her Vesak Day message
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.30 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17.
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge in her message to the nation
to commemorate Vesak said she would abide by Buddhist principals to bring
about a peaceful resolution to the ethnic conflict. She further lauded a
United Nations gesture to recognise Vesak internationally as a day of
religious significance. The President's message was made in the wake of
fresh fighting between Lankan troops and the LTTE that began yesterday and
continued to rage at Jaffna's coastal belt in Sri Lanka's North.
Published: Wed May 17 03:20:19 EDT 2000
Heavy fighting in outskirts of Jaffna's municipal city
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.50 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17.
The Tigers in a press release issued yesterday claimed that the battle for
Jaffna resumed with great intensity as heavily armed combat formations of
the rebels opened up two frontal offensive assault last night in the
coastal belt of Jaffna city and in the Chavakachcheri sector.
The LTTE statement said, "The advancing LTTE forces engaged the Sri Lankan
troops in a bloody battle at Pasaiyur and Kurunagar in the municipal
outskirts of the city. The Tiger combat units have smashed through the
defence lines of the government troops causing heavy casualties to the
enemy. Heavy fighting is still raging in that sector."
The Tigers further claim to have overrun military positions at Navatkuli
and Thatchanthoppu in the Chavakachcheri sector last night.
The LTTE says that it has also since 5 p.m. last evening launched an attack
on the main military base situated at Kaithady junction.
The operation code-named 'Unceasing Waves 3' resumed around 5p.m yesterday
after a respite of three days.
Brigadier Palitha Fernando, military spokesman denied tha the LTTE have
gained ground in the north. He said there have been "general attacks
launched on defense positions at Kaithday last evening," but asserted that
there is no main military base at Kaithady junction as claimed by the rebels.
Brigadier Fernando added the Tigers have not advanced beyond Colombothuria
East, a position the rebels secured last week.
Published: Wed May 17 03:20:19 EDT 2000
Foreign Minister warns UN
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17.
Lakshman Kadirgamar, Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday warned that any
action by the United Nations to set up refugee camps to protect Tamils in
case of a backlash in Colombo would be unforgivable.
The Minister added, "We will not tolerate it. Not only would it be
interference, it would be needlessly alarmist and unforgivable."
The Minister however reiterated that the UN had not consulted the foreign
ministry about such a proposal.
Speculation has been rife that in the event Jaffna were to fall to the
rebels it is possible a fall out of the situation will be witnessed in Sri
The Minister further countered a statement issued by the European Union
yesterday which called on the government to lift restrictions on the media,
initiate a cessation of hostilities and to ensure the protection of the
civilian population in conflict zones, in particular the Jaffna area.
Kadirgamar responding said "the EU comes out with these declarations from
time to time. The language is usually a little quaint, but strongly
objectionable. For instance, there is suddenly a reference to
'commonwealth'. I don't know if the EU is firmly grounded on the soil."
Published: Wed May 17 03:20:19 EDT 2000
Hundreds of Lankan Tamils waiting to cross to India
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17.
Hundreds of Sri Lankan Tamils are reported to be stranded at Talaimannar in
the country's war torn north, waiting to cross the Palk Strait to India.
The refugees are however prevented from doing so by Indian naval ships
maintaining a strict surveillance between Sri Lankan and Indian territorial
waters. It is reported that desperate civilians trying to escape the fire
of Lankan troops and the LTTE have paid upto Rs. 15,000/- per boat and are
begging to be allowed passage to India's southern coast.
Published: Wed May 17 03:20:19 EDT 2000
Sri Lanka's Tamils trapped between
law and war
Trapped between a brutal guerrilla group, tough
anti-terrorism laws and a threat of communal violence,
minority Tamils in Sri Lanka are battling apprehension.
''Tension, anxiety, fear...would best characterise the
mood in the Tamil community at the moment,'' Pakiasothy
Saravanmuttu, himself a Tamil and head of the Colombo
based think-tank Centre for Policy Alternatives, told
Lingam summed up his people's dilemma perfectly.
''We are trapped by this war'' he said. ''When we live
in LTTE controlled areas we do what the LTTE wants.
And when we come to government-controlled areas we do
what the government wants.''