The Lanka Academic

VOL. 6, NO. 284


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Sri Lankan leaders call for moves to check violence, January 15. COLOMBO, Jan. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and the main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed serious concern on Sunday over the escalating rate of violence in the north and east of the country.

Wickramanayake addressing a public function at Galigomuva, 157 km northwest of Colombo urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels to adhere to the Norwegian backed cease-fire.

"Only the government can not maintain the cease-fire and the other party must also abide by it," Wickramanayake told the gathering referring to the violence that has claimed over 100 lives since Dec. 1, 2005.

The casualties include military personnel, civilians and members of militant groups.

Soldiers of the Army and sailors of the Sri Lankan Navy account for almost half of the death toll due to persistent attacks on the security forces raising fears of return to hostilities for the first time since 2001.

The main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the architect of the ongoing cease-fire and direct talks with the Tamil Tigers said that resumption of peace negotiations was the only way to check the cycle of violence.

Addressing a gathering of his party activists at Polonnaruwa, 217 km northeast of Colombo in the North Central Province Wickremesinghe blamed the inability to start peace talks for the violence.

"More the talks get delayed more advantageous it is for the Tigers," Wickremesinghe said, stressing that President Mahinda Rajapakse and his predecessor Chandrika Kumaratunga had failed to re-start peace negotiations with the LTTE rebels.

The visit scheduled for later this month by the Norwegian Minister for International Development Erik Solheim is much awaited as his visit has raised hopes of both sides being impressed upon to return to the negotiating table. More...

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Published: Sun Jan 15 13:48:13 EST 2006

Report: Suicide truck bombers may target Sri Lankan capital's landmarks
Associated Press, Sun January 15, 2006 04:23 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Soldiers in full battle gear manned checkpoints and patrolled Sri Lanka - 's capital Sunday after an intelligence report warned that Tamil Tiger suicide bombers may target prominent landmarks in Colombo.

The city's World Trade Center, Central Bank building and port may be targets of a Tiger attack as surging violence threatens a four-year-old cease-fire, the Sunday Leader newspaper said, citing an intelligence report.

Attackers could use explosive-laden vehicles, the news report said. The rebels have twice used suicide truck bombs in deadly attacks, hitting the Central Bank in 1987 and the World Trade Center in 1997.

``We have taken all possible security precautions in Colombo, and our forces are on full alert,'' said Deputy Inspector General of Police P. Jayasundara. He declined to comment on the news report.

Separately, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE the Tigers' formal name announced they were training sharpshooters.

``Interrelationship between technical advances, tactical innovation and battlefield capability mandates that skilled sharpshooters become an important component of our fighting force,'' the Tigers' Web site quoted a senior rebel commander Col. Theepan, as saying.

Like many of the rebels, Theepan uses a single name.

The Tigers who fought since 1983 for a separate homeland in the northeast for ethnic minority Tamils, claiming discrimination by the majority Sinhalese have been blamed for only one attack in Colombo since signing a 2002 Norway-brokered cease-fire with the government. The civil war killed more than 65,000 people.

Before the truce, Tiger suicide bombers mounted numerous attacks on government facilities and on the rebels' opponents.

After the cease-fire was signed, peace talks broke down due to disagreements over rebel demands for broad autonomy in the Tamil-majority northeast.

The government has blamed the Tigers for a spate of attacks that have killed 72 security forces since Dec. 4, sparking fears the cease-fire could collapse. The Tigers have denied involvement in the violence.

On Sunday, soldiers in full battle gear were posted on Colombo's major roads. Heavily armed troops patrolled the streets in military vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Tigers denied involvement in a grenade attack Friday on a European cease-fire monitors' compound, calling it a bid to sabotage the truce.

Attackers in the eastern city of Batticaloa, 220 kilometers (135 miles) east of Colombo, hurled a grenade into the compound, damaging three vehicles. No injuries were reported.

``Our leadership views this attack as an attempt to wreck the cease-fire agreement,'' the Tigers' Web site quoted their top political leader, S.P. Thamilselvan, as saying Sunday.

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Published: Sun Jan 15 12:28:19 EST 2006 Back to the top

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Influx of refugees from Sri Lanka continues, Sunday January 15 2006 00:00 IST . RAMESWARAM: The influx of refugees continued for the third day with five Sri Lankan Tamils arriving here on Saturday morning, raising their total number to 38, revenue officials said.

The officials said they had made arrangements to accommodate them at the Mandapam transit camp near here. The refugees, who arrived on Saturday, included two men, a woman, and two children. They belong to Jaffna.

They said they had paid Rs.3000 per head to a boat operator for ferrying them to India from Sri Lanka. A group of 24 Sri Lankan Tamils arrived here from Talaimannar on Thursday, the first after hostilities broke out between the Sri Lankan army and suspected Tamil tiger rebels on January 7 off Trincomalee.

Another batch of nine Lankan Tamils arrived here from Desalai in Mannar district on Friday. More...

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Published: Sat Jan 14 13:44:39 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
More S.Lanka Tamils flee to India fearing war  - Reuters

FBI team due on Jan 24
peninsula on line, January 16. The US is sending a top level team to Sri Lanka on January 24 comprising agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of State, The Sunday Times reported... Back to the top

Interpol help to be sought in drug war, 15 January, 2006. A POLICE team attached to the Colombo Crime division (CCD) will leave for India soon to seek assistance from the Chennai branch of the Interpol to arrest several local drug lords who fled the country amidst a crackdown on the heroin trade... Back to the top

Race for UN Chief Heats Up in Diplomatic Circle
korea Times, January 15. While the race to succeed Secretary-General Kofi Annan is underway, the foreign diplomatic corps’ electioneering in Seoul for the world’s top diplomat has begun in earnest... Back to the top

3-day strike hits life in Trincomalee, 15 January, 2006. COLOMBO: Business and normal life in Trincomalee remained at a standstill as the three-day strike, called by the Sinhala Vimukthi Sanvidanaya, in protest against LTTE killings, entered its last day yesterday... Back to the top

Sri-Lanka-Anti-personnel Mine Blast Kills Two Sailors
Associated Press, Sat January 14, 2006 06:34 EST . - - BC-Sri-Lanka - -Violence COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) - Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated an anti-personnel mine in northern Sri Lanka - on Saturday, killing two navy sailors and injuring one other, a navy spokesman said... Back to the top

LTTE condemns attack on SLMM office, January 14, 2006 14:19 GMT. Expressing concern about the attack on the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) offices, and relief that no one was hurt in the attack, Head of the Liberation Tigers Political Wing, S P Thamilchelvan, in a letter to the Head of the SLMM, Mr Hagrup Haukland, Saturday said: "Our leadership views this attack as an attempt to wreck the ceasefire agreement... Back to the top

Blast hits European monitors' parking garage in Sri Lanka ; no casualties reported
Associated Press, Fri January 13, 2006 21:46 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) An explosion went off in a parking garage used by European peace monitors overseeing Sri Lanka - 's shaky truce, damaging a vehicle, police said Saturday... Back to the top

Course in Colombo aims to improve TV news
IJNet, January 14. Mid-career TV journalists in Sri Lanka can apply for an upcoming five-day course in Colombo... Back to the top

Lankan refugees spark security fears in TN, January 14. The recent suicide attack by Tamil Tigers on a Sri Lankan navy vessel has put peace talks under pressure... Back to the top

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