The Lanka Academic

 
SEPTEMBER 25, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 172

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lankan navy attacks rebels transporting weapons, killing around 70
Associated Press, Mon September 25, 2006 02:00 EDT . RUWAN WEERAKOON Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka's navy sank 11 Tamil Tiger rebel ships loaded with troops and weapons on Monday during a five-hour sea battle off the country's east coast, killing about 70 separatists, a top navy official said.

It was one of the largest clashes since fighting escalated in the area in August, and dealt a further blow to a 2002 cease-fire that was supposed to end Sri Lanka's bloody 19-year civil war. The latest fighting began late Sunday night when the navy spotted 25 rebel ships sailing from their northern stronghold south along the eastern coast.

Rasiah Ilanthirayan, military spokesman for the separatists, disputed the navy's claims. He said only three rebel fighters had been killed and none of their boats sunk.

``But we damaged two naval attacking crafts,'' he said by telephone from the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi.

Tamil Tigers and the military frequently dispute each other's claims, and independent confirmation is virtually impossible as the areas are closed to outsiders.

The military said it planned to release a video proving it had destroyed rebel ships.

Navy Cmdr. D.K.P. Dassanayake said the rebel ships were believed to have been transporting arms and ammunition to reinforce the Tigers near the strategic eastern port of Trincomalee. Some 70 Tigers were killed and around 30 wounded, he said. The navy attacked with gunboats, he said.

The remaining 14 rebel boats retreated after the hostilities just off the coast of the eastern town of Pulmoddai, about 225 kilometers (140 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo, he said.

One navy vessel was damaged, and five sailors wounded, but the boat made it back to port, he said.

An officer at the Defense Ministry's press office said the third in command of the Tigers' sea wing, known by the single name Seliyan, may have been killed in the battle.

Seliyan's boat was among those badly damaged, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The official said Seliyan was thought to have been seriously injured or killed because he stopped communications in the midst of the battle.

Rebel officials were not immediately available to comment on reports of Seliyan's death.

It was the latest in a series of military setbacks for the Tamil Tigers in recent weeks after losing territory to government forces in the north and the east.

According to the military, more than 100 rebels were killed in two separate sea battles earlier this month along the same stretch of coast.

The Sri Lankan navy was returning nearly 1,000 Tamil civilians to the embattled northern Jaffna peninsula on Monday. They have been stranded in Vavuniya, just below the border with the rebel-controlled north, since fighting broke out on Aug. 11.

Foreign mediators are struggling to keep alive the Norwegian-brokered cease-fire accord, which has unraveled amid clashes that have killed at least 1,000 combatants and more than 100 civilians since July.

The Tamil rebels began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland in the north and east for Sri Lanka's largest ethnic minority, citing decades of discrimination by the Sinhalese majority.

Farther down the eastern coast, thousands of Muslims were fleeing the port town of Mutur, after the distribution of leaflets warning of an imminent rebel attack.

About 1,400 of them, including women and children, sought shelter on the nearby island of Kinniyai, while many more were prevented from leaving by authorities who said they had nothing to fear.

The exodus forced many to abandon observances of the Islamic fasting month, Ramadan, which began in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

It was the second time since August that the mostly Muslim residents of Mutur, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) east of Colombo, have fled the town. They had returned home just two weeks ago after having been driven out by fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels, which killed an unknown number of civilians.

Discuss this story
Published: Mon Sep 25 03:32:05 EDT 2006

Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka reports battle at sea  - BBC News
·
Sri Lanka says sinks rebel boats in clash  - Yahoo News
·
11 LTTE boats destroyed and 70 killed - Pulmodai  - Ministry of Defence - Sri Lanka
·
Sri Lankan navy attacks rebel fleet, killing around 70  - Associated Press

The 'Disappeared' in Sri Lanka
NPR, September 25. For the parents of a successful young woman called Komadhy, the last month has been little short of torture. They've tried everything. They spoken to government officials, to the police, to journalists. Yet they still have no idea who snatched their daughter from a house in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, or whether she's now alive.

In despair, they now pin their hope on fortune tellers -- going from one to another with Komadhy's astrological chart in the hope they'll provide some answers. Komedhy, whois from the Tamil minority, is one of hundreds of Sri Lankans who have been abducted in the last few months. Few emerge alive. In Vanuviya a few days ago, three young Sri Lankan men were abducted, then lined up and shot. Terrified neighbors say they were brought there by a mysterious unmarked white van. More... Discuss this story
Published: Mon Sep 25 22:09:03 EDT 2006 Back to the top


LTTE downplays sea debacle
hindustantimes.com, Monday September 25 2006 - 22:05 EDT. Downplaying Sunday's sea battle off Pulmoddai, in which, according to the Sri Lankan government, 11 Sea Tiger boats were destroyed and dozens of Tiger cadres were killed, the LTTE came out with a terse announcement late Monday afternoon, saying that it lost three fighters in the five-hour battle. The LTTE's Military Spokesman, Rasaiah Ilanthirayan, is quoted by the pro-LTTE website Tamilnet and www.puthinam.com as saying that about 25 Sea Tiger boats were on a routine patrolling mission in the East when they were intercepted More...
Published: Mon Sep 25 22:04:53 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Delhi invites three parties from Sri Lanka
The Hindu, Monday September 25 2006 - 09:08 EDT. For interaction to determine possible role for India in crisis resolution The invitation is believed to be part of the exercise by New Delhi for sustained interaction with Sri Lankan political parties

COLOMBO: Close on the heels of the decision of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to meet a parliamentary delegation of the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA), India has invited representatives of three Tamil parties from the north-east to New Delhi for an "interaction" on the current situation in Sri Lanka... Back to the top


Sri Lanka sinks 11 Tiger boats in sea battle
Hindustan Times, Monday September 25 2006 - 09:00 EDT. The Sri Lanka Navy, supported by the Air Force, re-affirmed its dominance over the North Eastern sea on Sunday when it destroyed 11 "Sea Tiger" boats off Pulmoddai in Trincomalee district... Back to the top

Sri Lanka sea battle 'kills 70'
BBC News, Monday September 25 2006 - 09:00 EDT.

Believed a top Tiger naval commander was killed or injured during the clash... Back to the top


Sri Lanka rebels pound military camps in east
people.com.cn, 08:13, September 25, 2006. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels on Sunday fired mortar and artillery at two military camps in the eastern district of Batticaloa but caused no casualties, defense officials said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka gov t asks Muslims to ignore rebels threat
people.com.cn, Sunday September 24, 2006 - 22:53 EDT. Sri Lankan defense authorities said Sunday they have urged the Muslim population in an eastern town to remain there as the Tamil Tiger rebels would be no longer able to attack the town... Back to the top

LTTE blames Govt for Muslim exodus from Mutur
hindustantimes.com, Sunday September 24, 2006 - 14:20 EDT. About 6,000 Muslims (approximately 1000 families) have fled Mutur in the Eastern Sri Lankan district of Trincomalee in the last 48 hours, unconvinced by the LTTE's "denial" that it has asked Muslims to quit Mutur in view of a military offensive it is planning to launch... Back to the top

Spiritual guru Sri Ravishankar in peace talk with LTTE
zeenews.com, 24 september. Kolkata, Sept 24: Even as Norway is engaged with the Sri Lankan government for a solution to the Tamil problem, Indian spiritual guru Sri Ravishankar has begun talks with the LTTE in the quest for a lasting peace in the island country... Back to the top

Rice urges Sri Lanka on bid for new peace talks with Tamils
zeenews.com, 24 september. New York, Sept 24: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged her Sri Lankan counterpart to make a concerted effort in planned peace talks with rebels from the country`s Tamil minority, a senior US official said... Back to the top

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