Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels kill 11 sailors as violence soars in Sri Lanka - Updated
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo,
April 11th, 2006, UPDATE.
At least 11 sailors were killed and 10 injured _ including two British
nationals _ when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated a claymore
mine on Tuesday in the island's restive east, throwing into doubt
peace talks set to resume next week, the military and police said.
The attack was the worst since the government and rebels met in
February for talks to resuscitate a faltering cease-fire and took
place barely a day after a similar blast killed five soldiers and two
local aid workers in Sri Lanka's northern heartland.
The navy convoy was carrying sailors going on leave three days ahead
of the island's Sinhala and Tamil new year, said Brig. Prasad
Samarasinghe, military spokesman.
A van carrying tourists was also caught in the blast and two among
them were wounded, he said.
"The condition of both is not life threatening," said Jon Cully,
spokesman at the British High Commission in Colombo.
Samarasinghe blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE, for
the attack and said they were "repeatedly violating the cease-fire."
"We are not involved in the attack and have not violated the
cease-fire," Daya master, Tiger spokesman said by telephone from the
rebel-held town of Kilinochchi.
Tuesday's blast was the third such attack against troops in four days.
Violence has sharply risen since a pro-rebel Tamil activist was gunned
down by unidentified assailants in Trincomalee on Friday, hours after
suspected guerrillas fatally shot two unarmed police guards in a
separate incident also in the same region.
At least 20 people have been killed in attacks in the last five days.
The parties are set to meet again for talks on April 19-21 in Geneva,
Switzerland but Europeans truce monitors have warned the entire
process hangs in the balance due to the spiraling violence.
"These attacks are seriously jeopardizing not only the Geneva talks
scheduled later this month but is having a detrimental effect on the
cease-fire," the truce monitors warned in a statement.
Head of the truce mission Ulf Henricssion was scheduled to meet S. P.
Thamilselvan, the rebels' political chief on Wednesday to discuss the
deteriorating security situation, it said.
Nearly 65,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka before Norway brokered a
cease-fire in February 2002.
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Published: Tue Apr 11 11:05:22 EDT 2006