The Lanka Academic

AUGUST 19, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 7, NO. 135


Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.

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'Indian agency blamed for attack on Pakistan envoy' Fresh curbs on Delhi diplomats
gulfnews, August 20. Islamabad: A Pakistani newspaper has blamed Indian intelligence for a bomb attack aimed at Islamabad's envoy in Colombo that killed seven people last week. The News quoted unnamed officials as saying that India engineered the August 14 attack on its high commissioner to Sri Lanka, Bashri Wali Mohammad, in an attempt to spoil the burgeoning military and economic ties between Islamabad and Colombo. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's external intelligence agency, carried out the attack on Mohammad that killed, among others, the four Sri Lankan bodyguards of the diplomat, the daily said. The envoy escaped unhurt. Mohammad, a former chief of Pakistan's Intelligence Bureau, has completed his tenure in Sri Lanka and is set to return home tomorrow. He was a retired colonel of the Pakistan Army. More...
Published: Sat Aug 19 23:56:24 EDT 2006

Sri Lankan Politicians make money from misery
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, August 19, 2006, 7.11 p.m.. Sri Lanka's politicians are masterminds when it comes to making businesses out of calamities; the tsunami and even the recent eruption in Muttur are just two such examples.

Politicians often attempt to always score points whenever a catastrophe befalls their people. Apart from promising the masses the sun, moon and stars, some politicians, such as some of our ministers try to sound a bit more realistic and pledge to provide lunch packets in the thousands, but more than five days later after the pledge was made initially, no lunch packet let alone even a piece of stale bread has arrived.

When we contacted this minister to question him why he had not stuck to his promise of delivering 1000 lunch packets to the displaced he replied, "what nonsense! I initially promised 1000 packets but actually gave 20,000 lunch packets courtesy government money which cost Rs. 5 lakhs," he claimed.

Meanwhile, while the government claims that it has already dispatched 'more than enough' food items such as rice and dry rations, almost all the organizations currently actively engaging in relief work at camps in Kantale which according to estimates is housing about 40,000 displaced civilians, categorically refute such claims.

General Secretary of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka M. D. M. Rizvi said that if the government had actually sent out the food items, and if the Kantale Government officer had received these items, why was he silent during a meeting presided over by presidential advisor Basil Rajapakse in Kantale mid this week, when organizations actively involved in providing relief to the displaced levelled charges that no government relief had been provided to the victims?.

"The rhetorical promises are continuing. Some politicians have come and promised 400 toilets to the displaced, some food items, while other political parties have put up notices on their websites requesting aid to help the victims, but these are only political ploys. Not a single promise has so far materialized," Mr. Rizvi, who represents MCSL, a network comprising more than 58 of Sri Lanka's largest and most influential Muslim civil organizations, said.

Meanwhile, while acknowledging that there were shortcomings in the relief efforts launched by the government, Muslim Minister A.H.M. Fowzie categorically denied charges levelled against the government to the effect that 'no relief including food had reached the displaced.

"These are all lies. Food items have been dispatched already. Meanwhile, steps are also being taken to reconstruct the infrastructure such as the laying of fresh electricity and telephone lines, rebuilding of damaged houses and other buildings. Our aim is to create a good environment, better than before, so that this would attract the displaced to their original homes once again," Minister Fowzie claimed.

Shortage of proper health facilities and basic sanitation has meanwhile led to at least 50 of the displaced victims suffering from diahrroca, Muslim Aid country director Amjad Mohammed Saleem said. He also disclosed that due to the excess dusty conditions prevailing in the Kantale camps even aid workers and volunteers are beginning to fall sick with respiratory diseases.

Discuss this story
Published: Sat Aug 19 09:44:48 EDT 2006 Back to the top

80 rebels killed in shelling, Sri Lankan military says; U.N. warns of humanitarian crisis
Associated Press, Sat August 19, 2006 13:45 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two days of heavy artillery and mortar fire killed more than 80 Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka - 's military said Saturday, as the United Nations warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in areas cut off by fierce fighting.

Sri Lanka - 's air force, meanwhile, destroyed a strategic rebel sea base in the north in overnight airstrikes, killing an unknown number of guerrillas, said military spokesman Maj. Upali Rajapakse. The rebels' deadly naval wing has carried out several suicide attacks against Sri Lanka - 's navy.

Rajapakse said the sea base had been used to launch attacks on government positions in Jaffna Peninsula, which has seen some of the fiercest fighting since a 2002 cease-fire.

A pro-rebel Web site, Tamilnet, however, said the air force dropped four bombs on a boat-building yard that was part of a civilian tsunami reconstruction project, and that two workers were wounded. Rajapakse denied this.

It was not immediately possible to verify either side's claims as conflict areas in the north have been virtually cut off to outsiders, including media and aid agencies.

The two sides also routinely dispute claims and death tolls offered by the other.

The military said late Saturday more than 80 rebels had been killed in two days of intermittent shelling along their de facto border in Muhammalai in the north. The two sides exchanged mortar and artillery fire since Friday, the Media Center for National Security said on its Web site.

The U.N., meanwhile, announced only minimal aid has been able to reach tens of thousands of people who have been displaced by weeks of fighting in the north and east of the country.

The U.N. said it was ``deeply concerned'' about the humanitarian situation in Jaffna and other areas where the government has restricted access.

``Certainly we are deeply concerned about the water and food and sanitation problem,'' U.N. spokeswoman Orla Clinton said. ``And if we don't get access, then yes, it will be a humanitarian crisis. Aid agencies need unconditional and immediate access.''

On Saturday, the government said it would send 3,800 tons of food and other aid to Jaffna.

The Tamil Tigers have been battling the government for more than two decades for a separate homeland for the country's 3.2 million ethnic Tamils in the north and east, where they already control wide swaths of territory.

A Norwegian-brokered cease-fire in 2002 was supposed to end the violence, in which as many as 65,000 people were killed, many of them civilians targeted by rebels and security forces.

In the last six months, however, sporadic clashes between government troops and rebels along their de facto borders have escalated into what many here refer to as an ``undeclared war.''

Nordic truce monitors estimate about 1,500 people have died since the upsurge in violence since December.

The United Nations' refugee agency estimates about 170,000 people have fled their homes since April to escape the near daily exchange of artillery fire, and are now living in cramped, unsanitary conditions in churches, temples or out in the open.

Associated Press writer Cassie Biggs and Vincent Jeyan in Jaffna contributed to this report. Discuss this story
Published: Sat Aug 19 15:37:58 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Jaffna stares at dwindling supplies, soaring prices and cash shortage
gulfnews, August 20. Colombo: The government-held city of Jaffna, cut off by fighting between Sri Lankan forces and Tamil Tiger rebels, faced dwindling supplies and soaring prices yesterday... Back to the top

Suicide bombers -- weapon of choice for Sri Lanka rebels
Reuters, August 20. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Long associated with sectarian violence in the Middle East, the suicide attack has been refined by Sri Lanka's secularist Tamil Tiger rebels into a sophisticated weapon of war... Back to the top

MDMK district secretary arrested for pro-LTTE speech
The Hindu, Sunday, August 19, 2006 - 10:30 EDT. Chennai, Aug. 19 (PTI): MDMK's South Chennai district secretary Manimaran was today arrested on the charge of making "an inflammatory speech, in support of the outlawed LTTE".

A police release said Manimaran's speech was in a fashion that could "hinder" the sovereignty and unity of the country... Back to the top

Sri Lankans in California demand UNICEF action against LTTE child conscription
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, August 19, 2006, 7.10 p.m.. Saffron-robed Buddhist monks, saree-clad women, and men carrying children's coffins were among the hundreds of demonstrators who rallied for two hours recently outside the Federal Building in Westwood, California demanding that UNICEF take action to bring the leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges for war crimes against children... Back to the top

Leading Sri Lankan Tamil leader wants good trap laid for LTTE
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, August 19, 2006, 7.07 p.m.. A senior Tamil leader has called upon the Sri Lankan Government to device a solution to the ethnic conflict which would also be accepted by the International Community and thereby trap the LTTE... Back to the top

Humanitarian crisis looms large in the Jaffna peninsula
hindu, august 19. COLOMBO: With curfew in force for the eighth successive day and no end in sight to the fighting between the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE, a humanitarian crisis seems looming large in the Jaffna peninsula... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Cricket may seek compensation
The Hindu, Saturday August 19, 2006 - 18:07 EDT. Colombo, Aug. 20 (PTI): Sri Lanka Cricket are likely to ask Cricket South Africa to compensate them for the financial damages incurred following the team's pull out from a tri-nation series here citing security concerns. South Africa refused to play in the series that was scheduled from August 14 to 29 against Sri Lanka and India after a bomb exploded in the vicinity of their hotel on Monday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan air force says rebel sea base destroyed, some rebels killed
Associated Press, Sat August 19, 2006 02:37 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan air force planes destroyed a strategic Tamil Tiger sea base in the north in overnight strikes, killing a number of insurgents, the military said Saturday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka force attacks boat yard
CNN.COM, Friday, August 04, 2006 - 22:40 EDT. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- Sri Lankan air force planes destroyed a rebel boat-making yard in the north in overnight strikes, the military has said... Back to the top

Iceland sends reinforcements to salvage cease-fire monitoring team for Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sat August 19, 2006 02:59 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Iceland is boosting its number of observers in a Nordic monitoring mission for Sri Lanka - 's shaky cease-fire following the pullout of three other countries from the team, an official said Saturday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka clashes spur more to flee scenes of war
Boston Globe, Saturday August 19, 2006 - 08:00 EDT. COLOMBO -- Fighting between Sri Lankan forces and Tamil Tigers has set off a desperate scramble among civilians on the northern Jaffna peninsula, which has been cut off by the rebels, and residents with foreign passports begged their embassies yesterday to get them out... Back to the top

Aid workers demand help for thousands as air raids continue in Sri Lanka
New Straits Times, Friday, August 04, 2006 - 22:40 EDT. Government warplanes have attacked Tamil Tiger targets in northern Sri Lanka as aid workers demanded access to tens of thousands marooned by a week of fierce fighting that left 500 dead... Back to the top

Sri Lankan government launches air strikes on Jaffna, promises aid
Associated Press, Fri August 18, 2006 09:32 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka's air force on Friday launched fresh airstrikes on rebel positions in the north, an official said, even as the government promised to send aid to the hundreds of thousands cut off there by the fighting... Back to the top

Delhi in dilemma as Lankan crisis escalates
Peninsula, August 19. New Delhi • India finds itself in a bind vis-a-vis Sri Lanka’s collapsing peace process, unable to prevent the outbreak of another war that is bound to have major strategic, diplomatic and political fallouts... Back to the top

Sri Lanka returns to war
The Japan Times, Friday August 18, 2006 - 23:40 EDT. Mesmerized by the situation in Lebanon, the world has paid little heed as Sri Lanka's ceasefire has disintegrated and the country slips back into war... Back to the top

Not an orphanage but an LTTE training camp: Colombo
The Hindu, Friday Agust 18, 2006 - 18:20 EDT. `The structure is not orphanage but an LTTE training camp' - `The LTTE has a known track record of recruiting underage combatants' `It ruthlessly exploits the human suffering brought about by its acts of terrorism' - COLOMBO: The Government of Sri Lanka, responding to the resolution pertaining to Sri Lanka adopted by the State Assembly of Tamil Nadu on August 17 , stated that the reports that formed the basis of assertions in the resolution were "totally fabricated... Back to the top

LTTE counting on child soldiers, Sri Lanka army commander charges
Associated Press, Fri August 18, 2006 09:51 EDT . COLOMBO, Aug. 18 (Kyodo) Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are losing the ongoing battle in the northern Jaffna Peninsula and are depending on child soldiers, Lt. Gen... Back to the top

Aid workers say ongoing violence in Sri Lanka threatens relief work
Associated Press, Fri August 18, 2006 02:48 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Fighting in Sri Lanka - is preventing the delivery of much-needed aid to tens of thousands of people displaced in the north and east by clashes between government soldiers and rebels, British relief workers said Friday... Back to the top

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