The Lanka Academic

VOL. 7, NO. 125


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Headline Summary
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Muslim Aid condemns violence in Sri Lanka, at least 35,000 Muslims reportedly displaced
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, August 9, 2006, 3.43 p.m.. Muslim Aid, a charitable organisation headquartered in London, today unreservedly condemned the killing of 15 employees of French charity Action Against Hunger (Action Contre Faim) in the strife-torn town of Muttur in Eastern Sri Lanka.

The aid workers, who were from the local, ethnic Tamil community, had been working on post-Asian tsunami relief and reconstruction. While it is unclear who is behind the killings, Muslim Aid is calling on the Sri Lankan government to work towards bringing about an immediate ceasefire in the region.

"We appeal for a cessation of hostilities to allow the civilians to get out of Muttur," said Farooq Murad, chairman of Muslim Aid. "We deplore the loss of innocent civilian lives. We would like to see the situation return to normal, in order to enable displaced people to resettle back in Muttur and restart their lives."

Farooq Murad added that it is also very worrying to see that NGO workers are now being targeted, which makes working within the field even more challenging.

More than 60,000 people have died in the decades-old conflict between the Sri Lankan government and rebel forces such as the Tamil Tigers.

Muslim Aid has built 130 homes, community centres, medical clinic and rehabilitation centres for tsunami victims in Batticaloa. Muslim Aid has also implemented water supply projects in eastern Sri Lanka that have gone a long way towards helping survivors of the tsunami to get back on their feet.

In Nilaveli, Muslim Aid replaced the water pumps destroyed by the tsunami, assisting 167 families. In addition, working with the Sri Lanka-based Al-Husna Foundation, Muslim Aid trucked water to the villagers of Muttur.

In recent months, the deteriorating situation has been of increasing concern to Muslim Aid, who is calling on the government of Sri Lanka to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of all its citizens. On Friday, residents of Muttur and surrounding villages have started fleeing the violence, and Muslim Aid has identified an immediate need for funds to aid in the resettlement of these refugees.

"There has been an initial displacement of at least 25,000 people from the town of Mutur," said Amjad Mohamed-Saleem, country director of Muslim Aid Sri Lanka. "The latest reports are that as many as 35,000 people could have been affected. Muslim Aid, in conjunction with other international NGOs, and relief agencies, are operating in tandem to assist these refugees."

Muslim Aid is currently one of the leading agencies coordinating the relief effort, with local and international organisations and the government, particularly for non-food items. Along with the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR), Muslim Aid is one of the few international agencies with staff on the ground.

Muslim Aid is managing and supervising 11 out of the 23 camps in the region. Discuss this story
Published: Wed Aug 9 05:47:21 EDT 2006

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Amid crisis, Sri Lankan Muslims seek global support  - com

Tamil rebels, Sri Lankan military both claim control of disputed reservoir
Associated Press, Wed August 9, 2006 15:59 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Government forces and Tamil separatists fought for a key reservoir Wednesday, and both sides claimed credit for ending a blockade of water supplies that triggered some of the worst fighting in four years.

The government said it reclaimed control of a reservoir in the Trincomalee district in northeastern Sri Lanka - that had been blocked by Tamil rebels on July 20. But hours later, the rebels claimed to still have control and accused the military of shelling the area nearby despite a cease-fire in place since 2002.

``We don't understand why they are doing this, but their actions show that they want to go to war,'' senior rebel leader Seevarathnam Puleedevan said from the rebels' northern stronghold.

S. Elilan, the rebels' area leader, said his fighters beat back the military's offensive around the reservoir, a pro-rebel Web site reported. The conflicting claims could not be independently verified.

A day after rebels announced that Elilan had reopened the reservoir's sluice gates, the government said it was responsible for restoring the water supply for some 60,000 people in government-held villages in the district.

The rebels blocked the water supply after accusing the government of reneging on a pledge to boost water supplies in rebel-held territory.

Fighting over control of the canal raised fears of a return to full-scale warfare. Estimates of the number of combatants and civilians killed have ranged from 100 to 300.

Military spokesman Maj. Upali Rajapakse would not comment on rebel accusations of continued government offensives despite the release of the water. He said the military was taking ``maximum measures to ensure that the water supply is not disrupted again.'' He declined to elaborate.

The government maintains its offensive did not break the cease-fire because it had a humanitarian goal. It said its troops accomplished ``the noble objective of the humanitarian mission which lasted for 19 days.''

Separately, a roadside bomb exploded late Tuesday near an ambulance in the rebel-held north, killing five Tamils, including a doctor and two nurses, Puleedevan said, blaming the army. The military denied responsibility for the blast.

The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's 3.2 million Tamils, accusing the 14 million Sinhalese majority of discrimination.

The 2002 cease-fire put a temporary halt to the bloodshed, but the truce has nearly collapsed in recent months. Renewed fighting has killed more than 900 people half of them civilians since December, cease-fire monitors say.
Published: Wed Aug 9 16:24:42 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Breakaway Sri Lanka rebels set sights on elections, Wed Aug 9, 2006 5:50 PM IST162. By Ranga Sirilal

COLOMBO (Reuters) - A band of breakaway rebels in Sri Lanka whose feuding with the mainstream Tamil Tigers is stoking fears of a return to civil war opened an office in the capital on Wednesday, aiming to eventually contest elections.

The Tigers accuse the group, led by renegade commander Col. Karuna, of attacking them with the help of the military. President Mahinda Rajapakse's government refuses to disarm Karuna's group -- which led to the collapse of peace talks between the government and the Tigers earlier this year.

More... Discuss this story
Published: Wed Aug 9 10:35:24 EDT 2006 Back to the top

LTTE a dangerous organisation: Narayanan, August 9, 2006. There is no change in India's policy on Sri Lanka and on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), National Security Advisor MK Narayanan said on Wednesday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka fighting rages on after rebels end blockade, Wed. August 09, 2006 - 15:25 EDT. TRINCOMALEE (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said the army killed 5 civilians and injured 18 in a rocket attack on Wednesday, as the government vowed to win control of a water source at the center of the worst fighting since a 2002 truce... Back to the top

Sri Lankan government says soldiers have reopened disputed canal
Associated Press, Wed August 9, 2006 01:59 EDT . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The government on Wednesday reclaimed control of a key canal that had been blocked by Tamil rebels in northeastern Sri Lanka - , easing a crisis that had sparked some of the fiercest fighting since a 2002 cease-fire... Back to the top

Roadside bomb kills 5 in rebel-held areas, say pro-rebel Web-site
Associated Press, Wed August 9, 2006 03:04 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A roadside bomb exploded near an ambulance in a Tamil rebel-held part of northern Sri Lanka - , killing five people, including a doctor and two nurses, a pro-rebel Web-site reported Wednesday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan patriots want UNICEF to impose 'severe' embargo on LTTE
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, August 9, 2006, 12.44 p.m.. The Sri Lankan Patriots organization based in the United States has initiated a petition demanding the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) take immediate action against the LTTE owing to the organization's scant regard shown upon children's rights and their security... Back to the top

Lankan Govt promises to stop take over of Apollo, August 7, 2006. The Sri Lankan government has promised that it will restrain a local corporate raider, who is on the verge of taking over the state of the art Apollo Hospital in Colombo... Back to the top

NRC condemns killings of aid workers in Sri Lanka, Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - 06:41 EDT. NRC deeply concerned over situation in Sri Lanka: The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) strongly condemns the killings of 17 aid workers from the French organisation Action Against Hunger in north eastern Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka rebels end water siege, Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - 06:41 EDT. TRINCOMALEE (Reuters) - Water flowed to thousands of farmers in east Sri Lanka for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday after Tamil Tiger rebels lifted a blockade, but there was no end to the worst fighting since a 2002 truce... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s postal service looks to financial service for solace ..., Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - 06:41 EDT. TRINCOMALEE (Reuters) - Water flowed to thousands of farmers in east Sri Lanka for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday after Tamil Tiger rebels lifted a blockade, but there was no end to the worst fighting since a 2002 truce... Back to the top

Tamil Tigers end 19-day water blockade to government-held areas in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Tue August 8, 2006 09:58 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil rebels on Tuesday released water from a disputed reservoir in Sri Lanka - , ending a 19-day blockade that had sparked the worst fighting between government troops and guerrillas in four years... Back to the top

Solve problems through talks, India tells Sri Lanka, August 09. NEW DELHI, AUG 8: Reiterating its earlier stand that there is no military solution for the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka, India on Tuesday said “efforts should be there to resolve the issue through dialogue... Back to the top

India sends Lanka Centre-state reading list, 9 August 2006 . NEW DELHI, Aug. 8: Even as fighting between the government forces and the LTTE continues unabated, Sri Lankan legal experts have recently got a large delivery of heavy tomes from India on Centre-state relations. Last week, the Sri Lankan high commissioner met a senior official in the ministry of home affairs to get a list of reference material for the expert panel set up by the all-party conference looking into devolution of power for north and east provinces as a settlement to the ethnic issue... Back to the top

Car bomb kills 2, wounds 9 in Sri Lankan capital
Associated Press, Tue August 8, 2006 07:51 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A van carrying a former Tamil lawmaker opposed to Tamil Tiger rebels exploded in front of a girls' school in the Sri Lankan capital on Tuesday, killing an occupant and a girl walking past, police and military said... Back to the top

Keep Sri Lanka s unity intact
com, Tuesday, August 08, 2006 - 08:45 EDT. As Sri Lanka is being compelled to grapple with yet another ethnic conflict forced on it by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with the brutal assassination of Sri Lanka's Deputy Army chief Lieutenant General Parami Kulatunge on 26 June, one begins to wonder whether there is any future for this unhappy island... Back to the top

Sri Lanka gov't pledges probe into killings of aid workers+
Associated Press, Tue August 8, 2006 03:38 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Aug. 8 (Kyodo) The Sri Lanka - government has pledged an independent and transparent inquiry into the killing of aid workers belonging to a French nongovernmental organization during the height of fighting last week between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels in the eastern coastal town Muttur. ''I hope this wanton act will not deter aid workers in Sri Lanka - , who have acted with courage and determination under difficult circumstances,'' he said... Back to the top

Save the Children warns of a humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, 08 Aug 2006 . Save the Children today warns of a humanitarian crisis as fighting continues in eastern Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Massacre leads charity to abandon Sri Lanka, 8 aug. Paris -- The French charity Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger) said yesterday it was suspending its mission to Sri Lanka following the massacre of 15 of its staff in the country... Back to the top

SRI LANKA HAVE WHIFF OF VICTORY, 8 aug. Sri Lanka secured a nailbiting one-wicket one in the second Test against South Africa in Colombo to win the series 2-0... Back to the top

International aid group find 2 more workers dead in Sri Lanka amid continued fighting
Associated Press, Tue August 8, 2006 02:11 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) An international aid group said Tuesday it found the bodies of two more of its workers after discovering 15 others killed last week in Sri Lanka - 's northeast amid continuing battles between the government and Tamil rebels... Back to the top

Analyst, broadcaster apologize for racist remark in cricket commentary
Associated Press, Tue August 8, 2006 02:58 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A TV broadcaster has apologized for racist remarks made by one of its analysts during its coverage of the continuing test cricket series between Sri Lanka - and South Africa... Back to the top

One air force man killed and two more injured in rebel ambush
Associated Press, Mon August 7, 2006 23:33 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed a foot patrol near an air force base in northeast Sri Lanka - , killing one airman and injuring two more, the military said... Back to the top

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