The Lanka Academic

 
JULY 15, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 100

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lanka pledges to honor cease-fire after rebels warn of return to civil war
Associated Press, Sat July 15, 2006 06:28 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS

Associated Press Writer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ The Sri Lankan government said Saturday it will honor a four-year cease-fire despite stepped-up clashes between soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels that have killed nearly 30 people in recent days and threaten to drag the country back to full-scale civil war.

``So far ... we are going to honor the cease-fire,'' chief government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told The Associated Press. ``We are going to exercise restraint, as we sincerely believe that war is not a solution,'' Rambukwella said.

Fighting on Friday killed at least 16 people, the Red Cross and rebels said Saturday.

The rebels returned the bodies of 12 soldiers on Saturday, officials from the Nordic cease-fire monitoring team said. The bodies were handed over to Red Cross officials in a rebel-held area in the east, a spokesman for the monitors, Thorfinnur Omarsson, said.

The Tigers were still holding one other soldier, wounded in the battle in the rebel-held village of Kulathumadu, about 225 kilometers (140 miles) east of the capital, Colombo, he said.

A Red Cross statement later said the rebels had refused to allow them to see the captured soldier, although a doctor was permitted to examine the soldier to assess his condition.

Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said another four soldiers were wounded. He denied troops had knowingly entered the rebel area, saying there was no way of knowing they had left government-held territory.

Under a Norway-brokered cease-fire signed in 2002, both sides are prohibited from entering each other's territory with arms.

Samarasinghe said he had information that at least 10 Tamil rebels were killed in Friday's clashes, but there was no independent confirmation of that claim.

The pro-rebel Web site TamilNet reported Friday that four rebel fighters were killed.

The Red Cross statement appealed to both sides to honor international laws, treat captives humanely and give the wounded adequate medical care.

More than 750 people have been killed in escalating violence, especially in Sri Lanka's north and east, since December, raising fears that the island nation could plunge back into full-blown civil war.

``Friday's incursion ... marks a degree of escalation in the long-running 'low intensity war' between the (rebels) and the Sri Lankan military,'' TamilNet said Saturday.

The Tamil Tigers _ formally named the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam _ have fought the government since 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's 3.2 million ethnic Tamil minority, accusing the 14 million Sinhalese of discrimination.

More than 65,000 people were killed in the conflict before the 2002 truce. Discuss this story
Published: Sat Jul 15 07:37:56 EDT 2006


3RD LD: Battle between Sri Lanka gov't, rebels leaves 16 dead+
Associated Press, Fri July 14, 2006 08:49 EDT . COLOMBO, July 14 (Kyodo) _ (EDS: UPDATING WITH MILITARY ACKNOWEDGEMENT THAT 13 SOLDIERS MISSING)

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels said Friday they killed 12 government soldiers and captured one in a fierce gun battle in which they lost four of their own fighters.

If the death toll is confirmed, the battle in the Vakeneri area of eastern Sri Lanka would be the most bloody in recent weeks in terms of lives lost.

Military officials acknowledged that 13 soldiers are missing from the incident, while the International Committee for the Red Cross said arrangements are being made to transfer the bodies of 12 soldiers on Saturday.

The rebel-linked TamilNet website quoted a rebel official as saying the battle, which lasted an hour, started when rebels came into contact with a unit of at least 100 government soldiers who had penetrated 5 kilometers inside rebel-controlled territory.

The army, on its website, said its troops were on a search and clear operation when they came under mortar and small arms fire from the rebels. It said they retaliated and managed to inflict high casualties among the ''terrorists'' with the help of reinforcements.

Besides those who went missing, it said five soldiers were injured.

Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, a military spokesman, rejected the LTTE claim that the fighting occurred in rebel-held territory, saying Vakaneri is a no man's land. Vakaneri is located 37 km northwest of Batticaloa town in eastern Sri Lanka.

The 2002 cease-fire that halted two decades of civil war has been undermined by low-intensity warfare and violence that has claimed over 700 lives since last December.

In other violence Friday, the army said rebel snipers shot two navy sailors, killing one of them. On Thursday, two soldiers were reportedly killed in a Claymore mine attack while four rebels were killed Wednesday night in an army ambush. Discuss this story
Published: Fri Jul 14 09:48:43 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka 's military says 13 soldiers missing following fight with Tamil Tiger rebels  - Associated Press
·
Tamil Tigers clash with government troops, 16 killed  - Associated Press
·
Sri Lanka clash kills 12 soldiers, 4 rebels-monitors  - reuters.com
·
16 killed in major confrontation between Sri Lankan Army and LTTE  - hindu.com
·
Sri Lanka rebels say kill 22 soldiers in firefight  - scotsman.com
·
Sri lanka says 13 soldiers missing after clash with rebels; casualties reported  - Associated Press

France calls on both sides to resume talks
gulf times, 15 July, 2006. COLOMBO: France yesterday asked Sri Lanka’s warring parties to resume peace negotiations amid an escalation of fighting and said a peace deal was still possible.

The outgoing French ambassador Jean Bernard de Vaivre said the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) must stop using violence and enter negotiations with the government to end decades of ethnic bloodshed. More... Discuss this story
Published: Sat Jul 15 13:01:07 EDT 2006 Back to the top


SL oil unions demand ouster of IOC
hindustan times, july 15. The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Trade Union Alliance has demanded the ouster of the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) from the Sri Lankan oil retail business, on the grounds that it harms the interest of the local workers and endangers national security... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Tiger official leaves hospital after heart treatment
lankabusinessonline.com, 15 July 2006 13:41:20. July 15, 2006 (AFP) - A Tamil rebel official was discharged from hospital here Saturday after treatment for a heart problem and was provided with security as he returned to a guerrilla-held area, officials said... Back to the top

Suspected Tamil rebel sniper fire kills 1 Sri Lankan sailor; 1 wounded
Associated Press, Fri July 14, 2006 02:44 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sniper fire from suspected Tamil Tiger rebels on a Sri Lankan navy post killed one sailor and wounded another in the northeast Friday, a navy spokesman said... Back to the top

LTTE hands over bodies of 12 soldiers to ICRC
dnaindia.com, Saturday, July 15, 2006 15:28 IST. Simon Gardner COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers on Saturday handed over the corpses of 12 soldiers they killed during one of the worst military clashes since a 2002 ceasefire, but said another they captured would be tried in their courts... Back to the top

Sri Lankan protesters demand arrest of Tamil rebel official at Colombo hospital
Associated Press, Fri July 14, 2006 05:30 EDT . ERANGA JAYAWARDENA - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The government allowed a known Tamil Tiger rebel official safe passage to the Sri Lankan capital and provided security at a hospital where he is being treated for a heart ailment, officials said Friday, prompting protesters to demand his arrest... Back to the top

Ex-captain Ranatunga, three others set to run Sri Lanka's cricket
afp, July 14. COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka's only World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga is among four cricketers recommended by ex-players to run the sport in the island nation, sources told AFP... Back to the top

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