The Lanka Academic

 
JULY 5, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 90

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger leader defends using human bombs
Associated Press, Wed July 5, 2006 10:10 EDT . ASHOK SHARMA Associated Press Writer KOVILPORATIVU, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A top Tamil Tiger leader on Wednesday defended the use of suicide bombers against Sri Lankan security forces, as the rebels held street parades during an annual memorial for suicide cadres who died while fighting for a separate homeland.

Every July 5, the rebels honor members of a special suicide squad, known as the Black Tigers, who are a key part of their struggle for an independent state for the country's 3.2 million ethnic Tamil minority.

According to latest figures released by the rebels, 273 Black Tigers have died in suicide missions since 1987.

``There are many groups in the world using suicide bombers but the methods of our Black Tigers are more effective and incredible,'' rebel official Yogaratnam Yogi said in a speech on the rebel radio Voice of Tigers. A transcript of his speech was published on pro-rebel Web sites.

``Many countries in the world fear Black Tigers. Anxious that other groups may emulate them, these countries ridicule the cadres and are bent on creating a bad opinion against them,'' Yogi said referring to widespread criticism against the group for using human bombs.

``War itself is violent. There are no soft methods in it. Weren't bombs made to blow up and kill men? so why there is such a cry if only a man becomes a human bomb?'' he said.

The Tigers launched their first suicide attack on July, 5, 1987, when a rebel drove a truck loaded with explosives into a military camp in northern Jaffna peninsula killing scores of soldiers.

In Kovilporativu, an impoverished, rebel-controlled village of eastern Batticaloa district, about 225 kilometers (140 miles) east of the capital Colombo, some 400 people led by 30 mothers of suicide bombers and Tiger cadres carrying rifles took part in a parade across the village.

A float carried portraits of fallen Black Tigers, prominently displaying a cutout of a uniformed guerrilla with a grenade tied to his neck.

A memorial was later unveiled by Batticaloa's Tamil Tiger military wing leader Bhanu, at a public ground decorated with red and yellow, the rebel colors.

In Colombo, soldiers in combat gear were posted at most intersections and buildings considered potential targets. Vehicles were being checked at random. In the past, the guerrillas have launched devastating attacks on the capital to mark the anniversary.

Increasing violence between a new government and the rebels threatens to break a 2002 cease-fire that ended almost two decades of bloody civil war.

In the Tamil heartland of Jaffna, university students commemorated the Black Tigers at a ceremony held inside the university premises, where they raised the rebel flag.

Victims of suicide bombings have included former Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and numerous Sri Lankan ministers and senior politicians.

Another former Sri Lankan president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, narrowly survived a suicide attack in 1999.

In the latest suicide bombing blamed on the rebels, on June 26, an attacker on a motorcycle rammed into a car carrying Sri Lanka's third-highest ranking military officer, Maj. Gen. Parami Kulatunga, killing himself, the general and three other people. Discuss this story
Published: Wed Jul 5 12:15:20 EDT 2006


Sri Lanka takes step toward addressing separatist demands
Associated Press, Wed July 5, 2006 05:49 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - took a step toward addressing the demands of a separatist movement that has brought the country to the brink of all-out civil war by unveiling Wednesday a committee to advise it on giving more autonomy to Tamil-majority areas. The violence continued Wednesday as suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated a mine that killed a soldier in northern Sri Lanka - .

The 12-member power-sharing committee made up of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims will have its first meeting on Tuesday with President Mahinda Rajapakse, chief government spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.

``The main task of the committee will be to examine the mechanism of power devolution and advise us on how to go about it,'' the spokesman said.

In 1995, rebels rejected a similar offer that would have allowed them autonomy within a federal system.

Rambukwella did not elaborate on how far the government would go to accommodate rebel demands, but hinted something similar to the 1995 offer.

``The committee will examine federal systems of India and Canada and will advise,'' he said without elaborating.

Tamil Tiger leaders were not immediately available for comment. The guerrillas say they already run a de facto state in Tamil-dominated areas under their control in the north and east.

In Colombo, soldiers in combat gear were posted at most road intersections and buildings considered potential targets. Vehicles were being checked at random.

In the Tamil heartland of Jaffna, university students commemorated the Black Tigers at a ceremony held inside the university premises, where they raised the rebel flag.

Victims of suicide bombings have included former Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and numerous Sri Lankan ministers and senior politicians.

Another former president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, narrowly survived a suicide attack in 1999.

In the latest suicide bombing blamed on the rebels, on June 26, an attacker on a motorcycle rammed into a car carrying Sri Lanka - 's third-highest ranking military officer, Maj. Gen. Parami Kulatunga, killing himself, the general and three other people.

Also on Wednesday, rebels triggered an anti-personnel mine targeting soldiers on a road-clearing patrol near the northern town of Vavuniya, military spokesman, Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said.

Separately, rebels fired at the police post in Ampara in eastern Sri Lanka - and officers returned fire, Samarasinghe said. The police suffered no casualties.

Associated Press writer Vincent Jeyan contributed to this report from Jaffna.

Discuss this story
Published: Wed Jul 5 06:25:01 EDT 2006 Back to the top

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Sri Lanka sets up committee to advise on more autonomy in Tamil areas  - Associated Press

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