The Lanka Academic

 
OCTOBER 15, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 192

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Sri Lanka says it sank rebel boat loaded with arms, killing 5
Associated Press, October 16. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ The Sri Lankan navy destroyed a trawler loaded with arms along the western coast on Sunday, killing at least five Tamil Tiger separatists and sparking a huge explosion, the military said.

In the north, the rebels blindfolded three ethnic Sinhalese civilians, tied their hands and fatally shot them, and a rebel attack in the Jaffna Peninsula left two soldiers dead, officials said.

Navy patrol boats spotted the trawler off Mannar in northwestern Sri Lanka _ about 220 kilometers (136 miles) from Colombo _ and fired warning shots, a Defense Ministry official said on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

The rebels shot back, triggering a fierce response from the navy, which fired at the trawler for about 10 minutes, setting off a large explosion, he said. The craft sank, killing suspected five rebels, while three sailors were wounded, he said.

``Considering the explosion that occurred on the trawler, we believe that it was transporting a large quantity of explosives and arms,'' the official said.

In northern Vavuniya, three Sinhalese and two Muslims were captured by the rebels after traveling to the area to collect mangoes for business, said area police spokesman Kumar Sandanayake.

He said the Muslims were set free, but the Sinhalese were killed.

Meanwhile, Tamil Tigers fired artillery and mortars at military positions on the northern Jaffna Peninsula on Saturday night, killing two soldiers and wounding 13 others, an officer at the Media Center for National Security said on condition of anonymity, citing policy.

Troops repulsed the attack using artillery and mortars, he said.

Rebel casualties were not immediately known.

Heavy fighting along the same defense line on Wednesday left hundreds of combatants dead in some of the bloodiest clashes since the two sides signed a 2002 cease-fire accord.

The military controls almost all of the peninsula _ which the rebels claim as the cultural heart of the country's ethnic Tamil minority _ but small pockets are held by the separatists.

Tiger political chief Suppiah Thamilselvan agreed Tuesday to attend peace talks with the government, which Norwegian peace brokers said would take place in Switzerland on Oct. 28-29.

Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi, meanwhile, was scheduled to arrive in Colombo on Sunday for a five-day visit to try to strengthen efforts to bring peace to the tropical island. He is to hold talks separately with government and rebel officials.

The government said Thursday it remains committed to the scheduled talks despite the continued fighting.

About 2,000 people have died in fighting this year, according to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, which was set up to oversee the cease-fire.

The Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority in the north and east, citing decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. About 65,000 people were killed before the 2002 cease-fire. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Oct 15 08:48:37 EDT 2006

Related News Stories
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Sri Lankan navy destroys Tamil Tiger trawler carrying arms  - Associated Press
·
Sri Lanka navy sinks Tiger boat  - gulfnews.com

Japanese envoy Akashi arrives in Sri Lanka to help peace bid+
Associated Press, Sun October 15, 2006 02:36 EDT . COLOMBO, Oct. 15 (Kyodo) _ Japan's special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi arrives in Colombo late Sunday for talks with government leaders, the rebel Tamil Tigers and senior military officers as scheduled peace talks between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on Oct. 28 and 29 hang in the balance.

The Japanese Embassy said it would be Akashi's 13th visit to Sri Lanka since he was named by the Tokyo government as special envoy to assist the peace effort.

Two other senior foreign diplomats, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher and Norwegian special envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer are also due for meetings connected with the peace process.

The United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway are the co-chairs of an international donor group assisting the peace process with Norway acting as facilitator.

Although the LTTE has not yet formally confirmed they will be in Geneva late this month for the first direct meeting with government negotiators since February this year, diplomats expect the meeting to take place, barring any major incidents in the interim.

Although Akashi had sought a meeting with LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, this has yet to be decided.

''He is flying to (rebel held) Kilinochchi and a meeting with (LTTE political wing chief) Mr. Thamilchelvan is confirmed,'' a Japanese Embassy official said. ''We have requested a meeting with Mr. Prabhakaran but that is not yet confirmed.''

The reclusive Prabhakaran seldom meets with foreign dignitaries, often citing personal security as a reason.

The Japanese official said Akashi will for the first time meet Sri Lanka's defense secretary and army commander during the visit.

Last week the EU and India demanded an immediate end to violence following a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen.

''Both sides are convinced that violence is not the answer to problems in Sri Lanka, and call on the parties to return to talks immediately,'' a statement issued after their meeting said.

The two leaders also expressed strong support for continuing facilitation of the peace process by Norway in the context of demands in Sri Lanka that Norway's services be discontinued.

Fierce fighting in the northern Jaffna Peninsula last week saw the army losing 138 soldiers in battle and 230 wounded, the highest casualty figure in a single battle since the February 2002 cease-fire agreement between the government and the Tigers, which now exists only on paper.

Although the government claimed an estimated 200 LTTE fighters were killed in the fighting, this is not independently verifiable. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Oct 15 08:51:17 EDT 2006 Back to the top


Sri Lankan rebels kill 3 Sinhalese after blindfolding them, tying their hands: police
Associated Press, Sun October 15, 2006 02:54 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Tamil Tiger rebels fatally shot three ethnic Sinhalese in northern Sri Lanka on Sunday after blindfolding them and tying their hands, police said.

The Sinhalese along with two Muslims had traveled to Vavuniya from western Sri Lanka to collect mangoes for business when they were captured by the ethnic Tamil rebels, said area police spokesman Kumar Sandanayake.

He said the Muslims were set free, but the Sinhalese were blindfolded and had their hands bound before they were shot.

Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority suffered decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese, and tensions still exist. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Oct 15 08:44:47 EDT 2006 Back to the top


Germany freezes aid to Lanka
hindustantimes.com, October 15, 2006. To force the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to go for peace talks at the end of this month, Germany has frozen all new economic aid to Sri Lanka, according to The Sunday Times... Back to the top

Sri Lanka lauds the emergence of Maharoof as new bowling star
Associated Press, Sun October 15, 2006 02:29 EDT . SANDEEP NAKAI - Associated Press Writer - MUMBAI, India (AP) Sri Lanka - cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene is delighted at the emergence of Farveez Maharoof as a new pace bowling force after his Champions Trophy record-shattering performance against the West Indies on Saturday... Back to the top

Bodies of 15 workers from French aid agency to be exhumed next week amid ongoing probe
Associated Press, Sat October 14, 2006 06:12 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Authorities will next week exhume the bodies of 15 employees of a French aid organization executed in northeastern Sri Lanka - as part of an ongoing probe into the killings, the agency said Saturday... Back to the top

Fighting subsides in volatile northeast as Japanese special envoy set to visit Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sat October 14, 2006 01:46 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels fired artillery at government troops in northern Sri Lanka - on Saturday, but the volatile region was relatively calm, the military said, as a special Japanese envoy prepared to visit the island to boost peace efforts... Back to the top

Maharoof claims six wickets as West Indies dismissed for 80 in Champions Trophy qualifier
Associated Press, Sat October 14, 2006 08:01 EDT . SANDEEP NAKAI - Associated Press Writer - MUMBAI, India (AP) Seam bowler Farveez Maharoof claimed a career-best haul of six for 14 Saturday as Sri Lanka - bundled the West Indies out for 80 runs in the final ICC Champions Trophy qualifier... Back to the top

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