The Lanka Academic

 
DECEMBER 2, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 7, NO. 240

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IN MEMORIAM

We have lost a great mathe- matician, engineer, scientist, an old timer of SLNet/LAcNet and a former LAcNet director. Pubudu Dayawansa (Daya) was instrumental in carrying out many LAcNet projects. He was responsible in setting up "Colombo Calling" a website that was designed to carry weekly articles from Sri Lankan Academic community and Human Rights activists. [ More...]
TLA FEATURE CORNER
Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Failed suicide attack unusual for Sri Lankan rebels known for precision
Associated Press, Sat December 2, 2006 05:35 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) For a rebel army known for precision attacks, the Tamil Tigers' recent string of botched attempts to hit senior government targets has been an unusual development a result, analysts say, of tight security surrounding the officials. The younger brother of Sri Lanka - 's President Mahinda Rajapakse narrowly escaped his attacker. Photos later released by the government showed his blood-spattered white shirt.

Assuming the Tamil Tigers carried out the attack, their failure to hit their mark was unusual for the rebels.

Known as the Black Tigers, the LTTE's suicide squad has attacked military, economic and civilian targets, killing hundreds during their two-decade separatist war with the Sri Lankan state.

Victims have included high-profile targets such as former Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and numerous Sri Lankan ministers and senior politicians.

But since violence escalated a year ago, bomb attacks, including two suicide missions against government officials, have failed four out of five times an unusual statistic for a group known for deadly precision.

Retired Air Marshall Harry Goonetilleke, a defense analyst, said Friday's attack bore the hallmark of the Tamil Tigers. But with tensions rising on the South Asian island, it appears that heightened security prevailed, he said.

``The LTTE is known for its efficiency, (but) these days targets are very closely guarded,'' Goonetilleke said. ``You can't get at these people very easily.''

The rebels boast of an efficient intelligence wing that they say can infiltrate the government at anytime to obtain the itineraries of would-be targets.

In April, escort personnel of Sri Lanka - 's Army Commander Sarath Fonseka saved the chief's life from a suicide attack inside the well-guarded army headquarters complex.

Despite being injured, Fonseka resumed duties after a few months.

Similarly on Friday, Rajapakse's guards had been vigilant and shielded him from harm, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said.

``This (is) not at all a dilution of their (rebels) capabilities. They are being unlucky,'' said Iqbal Athas, a top defense journalist and analyst in Sri Lanka - .

``They are being hampered by the security preparations. Despite the failures they are not going to give up the modus operandi,'' he said.

Rebel officials could not be contacted for comment.

The Tamil Tigers say they are fighting to create a separate homeland for Sri Lanka - 's 3.1 million minority ethnic Tamils. The Tigers have been fighting for more than 20 years, citing decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

The government says it is willing to give autonomy to areas where Tamils are in the majority, but the rebels insist on sweeping changes that the government says would infringe on the country's sovereignty.

A spike in violence this year has killed 3,500 fighters and civilians, imperiled a 2002 cease-fire, and threatened to return the country to all-out war. Discuss this story
Published: Sat Dec 2 09:59:15 EST 2006


4 suspects arrested in suicide attack on Sri Lanka defense secretary
Associated Press, Sat December 2, 2006 09:28 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Four people have been arrested in connection with a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bombing targeting Sri Lanka - 's defense secretary, including the owner of a motorized rickshaw used in the attack, police said Saturday. Suicide bombings are a hallmark of the Tamil Tigers, who have been fighting for more than 20 years for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka - 's 3.1 million minority ethnic Tamils.

The government says it is willing to grant Tamils autonomy in areas where they are a majority, but the rebels want broader powers.

Meanwhile, the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site said Sri Lankan air force planes bombed houses in the rebel-held district of Mullaithivu on Saturday, injuring one civilian.

An official at the military's media center said he had not received information of an air force raid in the area. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the center's policy.

A spike in violence this year has killed 3,500 fighters and civilians, imperiling a 2002 cease-fire and threatening to return the country to all-out war.

AP correspondent Ruwan Weerakoon in Colombo contributed to this report.

Discuss this story
Published: Sat Dec 2 14:28:36 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
·
2 detained on suspicion of involvement in suicide attack on Sri Lanka defense secretary  - Associated Press

Sri Lanka defense secretary escapes suicide attack; three dead, 14 wounded
Associated Press, Fri December 1, 2006 06:41 EST . By DILIP GANGULY

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - A suicide bomber targeted a convoy of vehicles carrying Sri Lanka's defence secretary and other security officials in the capital Friday, killing himself, two soldiers and wounding 14 others, the military said.

Soon after the blast, police and other security men opened fire. The body of an unidentified man lay at the scene with gunshot wounds. A car caught fire as a result of the blast, an AP photographer at the scene said.

The government blamed the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels for the attack which appeared to target the island's defence secretary, who is also the president's brother, and who escaped unhurt.

"Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse escaped unharmed when an LTTE suicide killer, targeted the convoy of vehicles in which he was travelling," a government statement said, using the acronym for the rebels' official name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said the bomber triggered the explosives as the five-car convoy of vehicles was passing. Samarasinghe confirmed that Rajapakse, who is the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapakse, was in one of the cars.

"He is safe, no harm has come to him," Samarasinghe said. Minutes after the blast, the government released photographs of the president hugging his brother, who in another photo showed photographers the blood spatters on his white shirt.

Military said two soldiers died while nine others and five civilians were hospitalized with varying degree of injuries.

The suicide bomber apparently approached on a motorized rickshaw from the opposite direction and targeted the convoy, said Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jayantha Wickremeratne.

Rajapakse, a retired military colonel, was in a bulletproof car, which was flanked by two motorcycle escorts.

At the blast site, a popular thoroughfare, there was the stench of human flesh and blood was splattered over the area, suggesting some of the wounded may have been badly hurt.

Meanwhile, the United States condemned Friday's blast, which it said bore "all the hallmarks" of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

"We once again call on the LTTE to renounce terrorism, to give up violence and to join in negotiating a peaceful solution to Sri Lankas conflict," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.

Colombo has been under tight security for several months over fears of possible attacks by the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

Separately, a roadside bomb blast killed two police in northern Jaffna peninsula, an official at the Media Centre for National Security said.

President Rajapakse appointed his brother to the post after coming to power last year.

Secretary Rajapakse provided the Sri Lankan army with new weapons to help their fight against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Suicide bombings are a hallmark of the Tamil Tiger rebels, who say they are fighting to create a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's 3.1 million ethnic Tamil minority.

The Tigers have been fighting for over 20 years, citing decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.

The government says it is willing to give autonomy to areas where Tamils are in the majority, but the rebels insist on sweeping changes that the government says will infringe on the country's sovereignty.

The latest round of peace talks held in Switzerland in October failed to make any progress in resolving the issue and relations between the two sides have since deteriorated.

A sharp spike in violence this year has killed at least 3,500 fighters and civilians, imperiled a 2002 ceasefire and threatened to return the country to all-out war.

The Tiger's top leader earlier this week called the Oslo-brokered ceasefire "defunct," but the rebels later clarified they would abide by the truce.

Distributed by the Associated Press Discuss this story
Published: Fri Dec 1 09:18:03 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka Defense Chief Dodges Attack  - Associated Press
·
2ND LD: Sri Lanka president's brother targeted in Colombo bomb blast+  - Associated Press
·
Suicide bomber targets military vehicles in Colombo, 14 wounded  - Associated Press
·
Sri Lankan defense secretary escapes suicide attack; 14 wounded, 1 dead  - Associated Press

Lanka peace depends on ceasefire, MoU: Wickremasinghe
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Fisherman from LTTE custody arrives
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Sri Lanka pins hopes on athletics
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Press freedom struggles in Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka s truce monitors call for peace after attack
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Clinton asks Lanka and LTTE to choose politics over violence
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Tough regulations stifling satellite tv growth in Sri Lanka, but ...
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