The Lanka Academic

 
SEPTEMBER 4, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 151

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lankan police find explosives in truck trying to enter capital
Associated Press, Mon September 4, 2006 14:27 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Police said they found hundreds of sticks of explosives in a truck that was trying to enter the Sri Lankan capital late Monday night.

Police discovered the 498 sticks of gelignite an explosive similar to dynamite during a random search of vehicles entering Colombo from Nawagamuwa, north of the capital, senior superintendent K. Udayapala told The Associated Press.

Six people were being questioned and an investigation has been launched, he said. He had no further details. Discuss this story
Published: Mon Sep 4 16:37:52 EDT 2006


President vows to 'fight terrorism'
Bloomberg.com, Mondya September 04, 2006 - 23:00 EDT. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged not to “bow down to terrorism” as security forces moved to capture a key stronghold of Tamil Tigers.

Rajapaksa told fellow party men at the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) convention that the government has already proved “brave enough” not to be threatened by “LTTE terrorism in the north east”.

He announced to the party coleagues that the security forces captured LTTE's strategically important Sampoor camp.

"Our troops have captured Sampoor," he told delegates of the SLFP 55 convention to thunderous applause.

More...
Published: Mon Sep 4 23:05:22 EDT 2006 Back to the top


Sri Lankan military captures key rebel territory, Tigers vow to keep fighting
Associated Press, Mon September 4, 2006 08:50 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS

Associated Press Writer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lankan soldiers backed by artillery and airpower seized control of a key rebel enclave in the east, the military said, claiming the first significant territorial change of hands since a cease-fire four years ago.

But the commander of the Tamil Tiger rebels in the east, S. Elilan, said the battle for the town of Sampur was still on. ``We are fighting them. This is our territory, we can't let it be invaded by the enemy,'' he declared.

Recent weeks of near-daily airstrikes and artillery duels between the Tamil rebels and the security forces already have shattered the truce, and the military's move against Sampur is a further escalation in a situation already verging on all-out war.

Ground troops entered Sampur on Monday and were clearing the area of land mines and explosives left by retreating rebels, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe.

``We are now fully in control of the area. There may be some resistance, but we are fully in this area,'' he said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as the rebels are known, have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the country's 3.2 million predominantly Hindu Tamils, who have endured decades of discrimination at the hands of Sri Lanka's 14 million Sinhalese, most of whom are Buddhist.

The conflict _ one of Asia's longest running _ is probably best known for the Tigers' use of suicide bombers, with about 65,000 people killed in fighting before the cease-fire.

While violence dropped sharply after the truce was signed, sporadic shootings and bombings have steadily grown over the past year into the full-scale fighting seen in the past six weeks.

Both sides still insist they are abiding by the truce. But rebels warned Monday that if a Nordic cease-fire monitoring mission in place since the cease-fire ruled the government offensive violated the truce, the Tigers would consider themselves back at war.

``If they say it's a full-scale war, then we don't have to be bound by the cease-fire agreement,'' said Elilan, the rebel commander in the east.

The military has been trying for more than a week to reclaim Sampur _ which lies across from the port of Trincomalee and a strategic naval base. The battle has cost the lives of at least 100 combatants and driven thousands from their homes.

The Tigers had been using Sampur to fire artillery and mortars at the base and port, which is the maritime lifeline for 43,000 troops stationed in a government stronghold in the north, the port of Jaffna.

It's believed the rebels aim in a war would be retaking Jaffna, which they claim as their ancestral capital and controlled until 1995. They currently control all the land routes to the city, and the government has long wanted to retake Sampur to secure Trincomalee's port.

The apparent retaking of Sampur is the first strategic territorial victory for the army since hawkish Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka was appointed commander in December, and the government was said to be celebrating its win.

``Our armed forces have captured Sampur,'' President Mahinda Rajapakse told a meeting of his ruling party on Monday, reportedly to thunderous applause.

But the Tigers still control wide swaths of the north and east, and analysts warned the military's push on Sampur could harden the insurgents' resolve and invite relation on the battlefield and in relatively peaceful parts of the island, like Colombo, where the rebels have repeatedly set off suicide and roadside bombs.

``In the past ... the (rebels) have hit back ferociously, like a Japanese bullet train, smashing through everything,'' said M.R. Narayan Swamy, a New Delhi-based observer, who has written extensively on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

``We'll have to wait and see what the LTTE do, but this should not be seen as the end,'' he said.

The open fighting in Sri Lanka began in late July over a rebel-controlled water supply near Trincomalee. It then spread to other parts of the east and north. There are no hard figures on the number deaths in the fighting, and estimates range from a few hundred to well over a thousand.

The battles and earlier violence has also forced at least 220,000 people from their homes, the United Nations estimates, adding to the more than 600,000 people already displaced by fighting before the cease-fire and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Most are now living in squalid refugee camps in the embattled north and east where food and medicine is running low and movement across rebel and government lines has been curtailed.

The fighting has also forced local and international aid agencies to scale back _ and, in some cases, completely cut _ tsunami rebuilding projects. Discuss this story
Published: Mon Sep 4 10:28:10 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka says clears rebels from key harbor mouth  - Reuters
·
Sri Lanka takes key Tiger town  - Yahoo News

Sri Lanka battles a weakened Tamil Tigers
Christian Science Monitor, september 5. COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – After more than a week of fighting with the Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan Army Monday captured a strategically important rebel position... Back to the top

UNP happy for 'Sampoor victory'
BBC News, Mondya September 04, 2006 - 23:00 EDT. The main opposition in Sri Lanka has hailed forces the victory by security forces over Tamil Tigers in Sampoor... Back to the top

Sri Lanka freezes Tamil aid agency bank accounts
Associated Press, september 4. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's central bank has frozen the accounts of an internationally registered Tamil relief agency that the government said funds rebel activities... Back to the top

Tamil moves in N America cause concern
ISN, september 5. The alleged efforts by North American-based supporters of the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers to buy weapons in New York represent an alarming departure from their traditional activities, say experts and analysts... Back to the top

Silenced Voices speak out on Sri Lanka
Imprint, september 5. Their voices were anything but silenced as the eight speakers took to the podium at “Silenced Voices,” a forum held August 29 at the University of Toronto to speak out against the human rights violations faced by the Tamil population in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Silenced Voices speak out on Sri Lanka
Imprint, september 5. Their voices were anything but silenced as the eight speakers took to the podium at “Silenced Voices,” a forum held August 29 at the University of Toronto to speak out against the human rights violations faced by the Tamil population in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lankan military says it has captured key rebel territory, Tigers vow to keep fighting
Associated Press, Mon September 4, 2006 06:34 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers have seized control of a key rebel-held enclave in the east, the military said Monday, a move a top rebel leader said violated a cease-fire and would put the country back at war... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Army Captures Rebel-Held Town Near Port (Update2)
Bloomberg.com, Mondya September 04, 2006 - 08:45 EDT. By Anusha Ondaatjie

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's army captured the Tamil Tiger-held town of Sampoor, used by the rebels to carry out artillery attacks on the northeastern port of Trincomalee.

``With the capturing of Sampoor, there is no longer a threat from artillery and heavy mortar fire on Trincomalee,'' Prasad Samarasinghe, a military spokesman, said by telephone today in Colombo... Back to the top


Sri Lankan military sees eastern operation winding up, hopes to resettle displaced
Associated Press, Sun September 3, 2006 04:52 EDT . CASSIE BIGGS Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's military said Sunday it was advancing ``slowly but surely'' on a rebel-held enclave in the east, where a week of near-daily shelling and airstrikes has sent hundreds of families fleeing, putting pressure on already overcrowded refugee camps... Back to the top

Sri Lankan military, rebels battle on 2 fronts as relief agency finds funds frozen
Associated Press, Mon September 4, 2006 03:23 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's armed forces and Tamil rebels traded artillery and mortar fire overnight, wounding at least 18 combatants, the military said Monday, as the government froze bank accounts of a Tamil relief agency operating in conflict zones... Back to the top

Dhammananda, chief Buddhist monk for Malaysia and Singapore, dies at 87
Associated Press, Sun September 3, 2006 03:16 EDT . - - Dhammananda left Sri Lanka - in 1952 to serve as resident monk for the small Sinhalese community in Malaysia... Back to the top

Sri Lanka: Journalist’s abduction highlights intimidation of media
WSWS, september 4. An unidentified group of gunmen kidnapped Nadarajah Kuruparan, a senior Tamil radio journalist in Sri Lanka, last Tuesday and held him captive for nearly 24 hours... Back to the top

Sri Lanka concern over Moody exit
bbc, september 4. Sri Lanka are concerned that they could lose national team coach Tom Moody to his native Australia... Back to the top

Painting the Tiger with new stripes
newindpress, September 2. Truth is stranger than fiction! And what better proof of that than the daily accounts our media carry... Back to the top

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