The Lanka Academic

APRIL 9, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 7, NO. 3


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Headline Summary
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Violence escalates in Sri Lanka; truce monitors warn attacks could mar talks
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, April 9th, 2006. Suspected Tamil Tigers exploded a Claymore mine and opened fire at troops in two separate incidents in Sri Lanka's north and east n Saturday as cease-fire monitors warned the spate of violence could jeopardize peace talks, officials said.

A truck with 12 soldiers on board, carrying food rations was caught in the explosion in Neerveli, Jaffna, said Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, military spokesman.

A soldier and a bystander were injured when the fragmentation mine _usually operated by remote control _ exploded.

Hours earlier, suspected rebels fired three rounds of 60 millimeter mortars and two rounds from a rocket-propelled launcher at government troops manning a point at Selva Nagar, south of Trincomalee, Samarasinghe said.

Two soldiers were injured and one later succumbed to his injuries, he said.

Scandinavian cease-fire monitors who visited the scene and sought verification from the Tigers said they observed the body of one Tiger cadre.

The government in a statement called the attacks "blatant violations of the cease-fire and commitments made in Geneva."

"The LTTE is called upon to desist from such attacks at a time when preparations are underway for the second round of talks in Geneva," it said.

Talks on how to save a fragile cease-fire are set to begin on April 19.

The government raised the issue with the Norwegian ambassador in Colombo Hans Brattskar, the officials said.

President Mahinda Rajapakse subsequently summoned a meeting late Saturday with his top advisers to discuss the prevailing situation and how to proceed.

The Tigers also accused the military of firing artillery shells from the eastern Kaddaiparichan army camp, injuring a civilians and damaging several houses.

The Tigers had made an official complaint about the incident to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.

The surge of attacks took place a day after Vanniasingham Vigneswaran, the leader of a pro-rebel citizens group called District Tamil People's Forum in the eastern port city of Trincomalee, was gunned down by two men who rode up on a motorcycle.

Vigneswaran had been chosen to replace the pro-rebel parliamentarian, Joseph Pararajasingham, who was assassinated during Christmas Eve mass last year in Batticaloa.

Meanwhile, troops in Kaddaiparichan said they had heard a powerful explosion in areas controlled by the Tigers. Unconfirmed reports from the area indicate that at least eight guerrillas were killed in a confrontation with the breakaway Karuna group.

Scandanavian cease-fire monitors were worried about the spike in violence.

"The situation is reminiscent of what we had in December and January when we warned both parties that such an escalation of violence could not only undermine the cease-fire but result in something much worse," said Helen Olafsdottier, spokeswoman for the monitors. "This could end up jeopardizing not only the talks but also the cease-fire itself."

Discuss this story
Published: Sun Apr 9 00:27:53 EDT 2006

Sri Lanka 's top donors ask Tamil Tigers to move political solution forward
Associated Press, Sun April 9, 2006 03:06 EDT . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's top donors and backers of the peace process with Tamil Tiger rebels are traveling to guerrilla-held territory on Monday to urge the rebels to stay committed to a peaceful settlement of the island nation's two-decade conflict. nt in eastern Sri Lanka - , injuring two soldiers.

Both sides also accuse the other of violating pledges made at the last round of talks. The rebels say the government has failed to disarm its proxy paramilitaries, while the government accuses the rebels of attacking troops and recruiting underage combatants.

Further straining relations, the rebels on Saturday warned they would use their own transport for senior commanders passing through government-held areas as the government had refused to airlift them to a crucial meeting.

Sri Lanka - 's government agreed to provide helicopters for top rebel officials traveling through government-held territory as part of the 2002 truce, but has recently turned down several rebel requests because of the spiraling violence.

The Tigers began fighting in 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils, claiming discrimination by the country's Sinhalese majority. The conflict has cost an estimated 65,000 lives. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Apr 9 05:05:25 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka, Tamil Tiger rebels clash over transport ahead of Geneva II
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, April 9th, 2006. The government has turned down a request by the Tamil Tigers for air transport between the island's north and east, presidential officials said.

S.P. Thamilselvan, the rebels' political head raised the matter during a meeting with Norwegian peace brokers on Wednesday.

Thamilselvan had wanted their senior cadre to be transported to and from the eastern regions of Batticaloa and Trincomalee to the northern rebel capital of Kiliniochchi for its central committee meeting.

He said the meeting was for consultations ahead of the next round of talks set for April 19-21.

A Norwegian delegation led by Norway's International Development Minister Erik Solheim, raised the issue with President's Mahinda Rajapaksa, sources at the president's office said.

The new peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer said the move could amount to a confidence building measure and help ameliorate relations ahead of the next session of talks.

President Rajapaksa had pointed out, however, that this was not possible, as even security forces commanders are not provided with such transport facilities.

Meanwhile, the Tigers in a letter to Norway's ambassador Hans Brattskar on Friday threatened to use their own vessels via the north eastern seas after the government turned down the request of helicopter transport.

Under the cease-fire agreement, armed Tiger cadres are forbidden from moving in government-controlled areas _ land and sea.

"We are now left with the alternative of making our own sea transport conscious of the risks that would ensue if any possible confrontations with the Sri Lanka Navy that would put the cease-fire agreement in grave risk," Thamilselvan said in a letter.

Accusing the government of adopting a hard-line attitude and acting in bad faith, the Tigers suggested that arrangements be made for sea transport with cease-fire monitors on board.

Colombo is yet to respond to the issue.

The rebels made a similar request for air transport last month, which was also turned down.

Transport for the Tigers is not stipulated under the February 2002 cease-fire agreement but the former government under prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe provided air movement as a confidence building measure between the parties. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Apr 9 00:20:23 EDT 2006 Back to the top

South Asia should unite behind one of its own
Hindu, APril 9. KOFI ANNAN's term as Secretary-General of the United Nations comes to an end on December 31, 2006... Back to the top

Canada to slap terrorist label on Tamil Tigers
Toronto Star, April 9. The federal government will list the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group, enraging those in Toronto's Tamil community who believe labelling the group will hurt Sri Lanka's peace process... Back to the top

LTTE warning to Lankan govt
Dawn, COLOMBO, April 8. Tamil Tiger rebels have warned that they will use their own boats to transport guerillas, risking clashes with Sri Lanka’s navy, after the government refused to airlift them to a crucial meeting, a pro-rebel report said... Back to the top

Sri Sri ready to meet LTTE chief to facilitate peace process, April 09, 2006, 10:15 EDT. Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who is currently on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka, has expressed his readiness to meet LTTE supremo Prabhakaran to facilitate the peace process... Back to the top

Canada to classify LTTE as terror group: Report, Apr 09. Montreal, Apr 09: Canada has added to its list of terrorist organizations the Tamil Tigers, a group fighting for the autonomy of northeastern Sri Lanka, the National Post reported, saying an official government announcement was expected on Monday... Back to the top

Tamil Tiger rebels threaten to transport commanders through Sri Lankan territory
Associated Press, Sat April 8, 2006 08:39 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's Tamil Tiger rebels warned they would transport senior commanders through government areas without a military escort in violation of a truce deal because the government refused to airlift them to a crucial meeting... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s Big Fleet of Little Boats, April 09, 2006, 10:15 EDT. April 9, 2006: Sri Lanka's navy has been rarely discussed in recent years, with much of the focus being on a long civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (better known as the LTTE, or Tamil Tigers)... Back to the top

India wants Sri Lanka, LTTE to move beyond Karuna, April 09, 2006. New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Amid indications that President Mahinda Rajapakse is prepared to walk the extra mile for peace, India does not want the upcoming Geneva talks between Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers to get confined to 'Colonel' Karuna, the LTTE renegade... Back to the top

Ravi Shankar ready to meet LTTE chief to facilitate peace process, April. 9. Jaffna, April. 9 (PTI): Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who is currently on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka, has expressed his readiness to meet LTTE supremo Prabhakaran to facilitate the peace process. Stating this at a largely attended public event in Jaffna, the leader, who is a guest of the Lankan Government, however, did not reveal further details... Back to the top

India committed to peaceful settlement of Sri Lanka problem, Apr 7. New Delhi, Apr 7 (UNI) India today reaffirmed the need for a politically-negotiated and peaceful settlement of the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka which is acceptable to all sections of the island nations' plural society and safeguards its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity... Back to the top

Prod Sri Lanka, LTTE to work for peace: Expert, April 08, 2006, 13:25 EDT. An Indian scholar has urged the international community to push both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger guerrillas to reach a negotiated settlement of the dragging ethnic conflict... Back to the top

S.Lanka rebels say attacked, govt pledges pointless, April 08, 2006, 13:30 EDT. COLOMBO, April 8 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels accused the army of attacking them on Saturday and warned the murder of a pro-rebel politician the day before showed government pledges ahead of new peace talks were meaningless... Back to the top

S.Lanka violence escalates ahead of talks, 1 dead, April 08, 2006, 13:20 EDT. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Suspected Tamil Tigers killed one Sri Lankan soldier on Saturday and wounded two, the army said, while the rebels also said they had been shot at and cease-fire monitors warned rising violence could hit peace talks... Back to the top

Next round of Sri Lankan peace talks uncertain
com, April 08, 2006, 13:25 EDT. Uncertainty hangs over the second round of the Sri Lanka's peace talks between the Colombo government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), scheduled for April 19-21 in Geneva... Back to the top

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