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,
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
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
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
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."
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Published: Sun Apr 9 00:27:53 EDT 2006