The Lanka Academic

JULY 16, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 7, NO. 101


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Headline Summary
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T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Rebels attack army base in Sri Lanka ; gunmen shoot dead 2 Tamil civilians
Associated Press, Sun July 16, 2006 06:04 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels on Sunday attacked an army camp in eastern Sri Lanka with mortars, wounding one soldier and a civilian, while two ethnic minority Tamils were shot dead in the north, authorities said, in the latest violence to threaten a four-year-old cease-fire.

Rebels fired mortars at the Selvanagar army camp in Trincomalee district, 215 kilometers (135 miles) northeast of the capital, Colombo, said an official at the Media Center for National Security, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with policy.

He said the army retaliated with mortars, and the exchange of fire lasted nearly half an hour.

There was no immediate comment from the rebels.

In the northern peninsula of Jaffna, unidentified men fatally shot two ethnic Tamil civilians in Point Pedro, 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Colombo, a police official said, without giving further details. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

TamilNet, a pro-rebel Web site, identified the victims as Vaseekaran Navartnam, 25, and Paheerathan Navartnam, 20, and said they worked as auto-rickshaw drivers. They were shot by men riding a motorcycle, it said.

Also Sunday, police found the bullet-riddled body of a Tamil civilian in Kalkuda, Batticaloa district, 225 kilometers (140 miles) east of Colombo.

The area's police chief, Maxi Procter, identified the victim as Arumugam Kamalanathan, 23, and said he had been abducted by an armed group on Saturday night from his home.

The motive for the killings and the identity of the assailants were not known, officials said.

The latest violence follows clashes between soldiers and rebels that killed at least 16 people Friday. More than 750 people have died in escalating violence in Sri Lanka's troubled north and east since December, raising fears the island nation is slipping back into full-blown civil war.

The Tamil Tigers _ formally named the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam _ began fighting the government in 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 two sides signed a cease-fire in 2002. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Jul 16 12:45:55 EDT 2006

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Sri Lankan rebels fire mortars, wounding 1 soldier, 1 civilian, army says  - Associated Press

Sri Lankan fishermen caught between navy and rebels
Associated Press, Sat July 15, 2006 20:32 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI

Associated Press Writer

KALPITIYA, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sailing from this strategic Sri Lankan naval base, heavily armed patrols keep a round-the-clock vigil for gunboats manned by Tamil Tiger rebels.

As straightforward as such a task might seem, rarely is something so simple in Sri Lanka, a tropical island off India's coast that for more than two decades has been gripped by a conflict between insurgents from the Tamil minority and the government dominated by the Sinhalese majority.

On the fishing grounds off northern Sri Lanka _ the Tamil heartland _ the navy accuses the Tigers of using fishermen as cover. And as violence has spiked over the past four months, so have accusations that the navy is are killing innocent Tamil fisherman.

The navy insists its sailors are careful not to shoot at innocents working in the fishing industry.

But the Sea Tigers, as the rebels' naval arm is known, ``mingle with the fishermen and carry out attacks against us or try to sneak past this base,'' said Lt. Commander Jagath Premaratne, who is head of the Kalpitiya naval base in northwestern Sri Lanka.

``We have to retaliate for those attacks,'' he told journalists who recently visited the base on a trip arranged by the navy.

He cited a June 28 clash in which navy vessels repulsed a guerrilla attack and sank two rebel boats, according to the military and Tigers. One rebel fighter and five sailors were killed.

``In this instance _ they came in a boat forcibly taken from fishermen,'' Premaratne said, explaining that the navy had, in an effort to avoid attacking fishermen, allotted specific numbers to all fishing boats in the area. The Tigers, he said, were using one of the numbered boats.

One fisherman near the base, set on the tip of a peninsula dominated by a 315-year-old fort built by Dutch colonialists, backed up the navy's allegation.

``We fear that Tigers would take our boats by force,'' said 32-year-old Sandya Kumar.

But the rebels deny stealing boats and accuse the army of killing dozens of fisherman in recent months. In one incident last month, the Navy said it sank a rebel boat near a strategic northern harbor, but families of two ordinary fishermen, Thevamani Arul, 24, and Krishnapillai Chandramohan, 28, accuse the navy of sinking the men's boat and either arresting or killing them.

``I believe that my son has been arrested by the navy,'' said Arul's 59-year-old mother, Sundaralimgam Arulai

Sri Lanka has 113 small islands or islets that provide cover for rebel boats _ a fact the navy finds increasingly frustrating as the number of sea clashes rises amid wider violence that many fear is pushing the country back to full-scale war.

Discrimination against the 3.2 million Tamils, most of whom are Hindu, led the Tigers to take up arms in 1983. The resulting war on this tropical island of 19 million people _ nearly three-quarters of them Buddhist Sinhalese _ left more than 65,000 people dead before a 2002 cease-fire.

But the truce is on the verge of collapse after four months of violence that has killed some 700 people, more than half of them civilians, according to a team from the Nordic countries responsible for monitoring the cease-fire.

Premaratne warned that the area off the Kalpitiya naval base ``is the sea route (the Tigers) could use to attack key economic targets,'' such as the busy port in Colombo, the capital, which lies 140 kilometers (86 miles) south of here.

Last month, police arrested three suspected rebels armed with floating mines near this base. Authorities say they may have been headed to mine Colombo's harbor. The violence has scared many people from going to areas around military bases, leaving those in the fishing trade struggling to make ends meet.

``We are now in a very helpless situation,'' said fisherman Keerthi Jayakody, explaining that wholesalers won't come to the area to buy his catch. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Jul 16 00:39:40 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka press rebels for release of soldier after heavy battle, July 16, 2006 - 03:30 EDT. July 16, 2006 (AFP) - Sri Lanka pressed for the release of a soldier captured by Tamil Tiger rebels following a heavy mortar duel at the weekend that killed at least 16 combatants, officials said Sunday. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) returned the bodies of 12 soldiers killed by them Friday at the village of Vakaneri in eastern Sri Lanka, but were holding onto a 24-year-old soldier, a defence ministry official said.

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Published: Sun Jul 16 03:29:02 EDT 2006 Back to the top

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JVP petition will widen distrust: Tamil leader
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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... Back to the top

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... Back to the top

Sri Lanka re-appoint Jayawardene, July 16, 2006 - 13:55 EDT. Mahela Jayawardene will continue as Sri Lanka captain for the home Test series against South Africa because of the continuing absence of Marvan Atapattu... Back to the top

SL oil unions demand ouster of IOC
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Sri Lanka invites new players to invest in lubricant business, July 16, 2006 - 03:30 EDT. July 16, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Sunday invited new lubricant players to invest in the country, following interest from a few foreign companies... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Tiger official leaves hospital after heart treatment, 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

LTTE hands over bodies of 12 soldiers to ICRC, 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

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