The Lanka Academic

MARCH 4, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 333


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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
Local bodies poll in Batticaloa after 14 years as plea is dismissed
hindu, march 5. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking postponement of elections to the local bodies’ in Batticaloa district. This paves the way for local bodies’ election to be held in the district on March 10 — after a gap of 14 years.

The Mahinda Rajapaksa government has promised to hold an election to the provincial council in the east. It has also promised to constitute an interim provincial council in the north, parts of which are under control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, pending restoration of normality.

The Batticaloa elections are being held under heavy security. More... Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 4 21:20:26 EST 2008

Sri Lanka's Army Offensives Erode Rebel Potency, Gunaratna Says
Bloomburg, March 4, 2008, 19:15 EDT. March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's military operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are blunting the group's offensive capabilities, terrorism analyst Rohan Gunaratna said.

``This does not mean it is a weak organization,'' Gunaratna, of the Singapore-based International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said in a telephone interview. As a terrorist group, the LTTE is still able to inflict ``very significant damage.'' As a guerrilla force its capabilities have been eroded.

Sri Lanka's military is mounting almost daily attacks against the estimated 7,000 Tamil Tiger fighters maintaining bases in the north, the last region held by the LTTE after it lost control of the east in July. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has vowed to eradicate terrorism in the north while seeking a political settlement with all Tamil groups in the region.

The army and air force have targeted the LTTE leadership More... Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 4 19:15:35 EST 2008 Back to the top

Military: Soldiers capture small rebel territory as fighting kills 7 rebels
Associated Press, Tue March 4, 2008 03:33 EST . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI Associated Press Writer COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Government troops backed by artillery and mortar fire attacked Tamil separatists guarding a front line in northern Sri Lanka, killing seven rebels Tuesday and capturing a small piece of territory, the military said.

Troops seized about a square kilometer (0.39 square miles) of land in the Mannar district during an early morning battle that lasted one hour, said Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman. Nearby troops captured a rebel post and advanced about one kilometer (more than half a mile) in a separate battle, he said without giving details.

The significance of the territory seized was unclear and rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer calls seeking comment.

Also Tuesday, fighter jets pounded a rebel artillery gun position and an underground ammunition depot in the northern rebel-held Pooneryn area, said Air force spokesman Wing Commander Andy Wijesuriya.

He did not give details of casualties and damages, but said the bombing caused ``extensive damage'' to the rebels.

In scattered fighting along the front lines Monday, government soldiers killed 14 rebels, the military said Tuesday.

The government has said it aimed to capture the Tamil Tiger rebels' de facto state in the north and crush the group by the end of the year, but diplomats and other observers said the army was facing far more resistance than it had expected.

It was not possible to independently verify reports of the fighting because the government has restricted access to the northern jungles where the fighting was taking place. Both sides routinely exaggerate their opponents' casualty figures while underreporting their own.

The military said soldiers have driven deep into rebel territory in recent months and pushed the front lines back from three to 20 kilometers (two to 12 miles) in different areas. Fighting, which has escalated over the past two years, further flared since the government announced in January it was pulling out of a tattered cease-fire.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for an independent state in the north and east for the country's ethnic Tamil minority after decades of being marginalized by Sinhalese-dominated governments. The fighting has killed more than 70,000 people.Discuss this story
Published: Tue Mar 4 06:16:00 EST 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka says takes Tiger terrain, kills 23 rebels  -

Military ties with India good: Sri Lankan Army Chief
ani, march 5. New Delhi, Mar 4 (ANI): Visiting Sri Lankan Army Chief, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, who is on a six-day visit to India to strengthen military ties between the two countries, today said both countries enjoy a sound military relationship... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Air Force bombs rebel targets, March 04, 2008, 11;32 edt. COLOMBO, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan Air Force Tuesday launched air raid on three targets of Tamil Tiger rebels in the north as the fighting between government troops and rebels have been escalated, said the military... Back to the top

Death toll nears 100 in Sri Lankan battles, march 4. COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lankan forces pushed deeper into Tamil Tiger territory in three days of fighting that has left at least 90 guerrillas and nine government soldiers dead, the defence ministry said Tuesday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Army chief urges enhanced military ties
IANS, March 5. New Delhi, Mar 4 (IANS) Sri Lanka Army chief Lt. Gen. Sanath Fonseka Tuesday obliquely urged India to supply arms to enable Colombo to effectively counter the Tamil Tigers... Back to the top

Fighter jets bomb rebel base; Fighting kills 24 in northern Sri Lanka , military says
Associated Press, Mon March 3, 2008 09:26 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lanka fighter jets bombed and destroyed a Tamil Tiger rebels' communication base while a series of infantry battles in the embattled northern region killed 22 guerrillas and two soldiers, the military said Monday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says kills 22 rebels, vows to win war, March 03, 2008, 0938EDT. y Ranga Sirilal COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankan troops killed 22 Tamil Tigers in the island's far north, the military said on Monday, a day after President Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed to destroy the rebels and win a 25-year civil war... Back to the top

Threats Against Journalists After Sri Lanka Government Minister's Brawl
IFJ, march 4. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is appalled at another attempt to intimidate journalists working for the state-owned television broadcaster Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) since a violent altercation at the SLRC offices was instigated by a government minister in December... Back to the top

'APRC ineffective' advisor resigns
bbc, march 4. The present parliament of Sri Lanka is incapable of finding a political solution to the ethnic problem, says a leading constitutional expert who stepped down from the post of senior advisor to the Sri Lankan Government... Back to the top

Sri Lanka navy rescues Burmese and Bangladeshi boat people
Mizzima News, March 03, 2008.

In a tragic incident on the high seas, 17 Burmese and three Bangladeshis died of starvation and dehydration after their boat drifted in the Sri Lankan seas for 13 days, a Navy official said... Back to the top

A Man’s Mourning Resonates From Staten Island to Sri Lanka
NYT Registration Reqd., march 4. It sounds like a throwback to another century: A healthy, middle-class woman sickens late in her pregnancy, gives birth and dies two and a half weeks later, leaving her young husband to care for their newborn son alone... Back to the top

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 22 rebels, two soldiers, military says
Associated Press, Mon March 3, 2008 02:23 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A series of battles between government forces and rebel fighters in northern Sri Lanka - killed 22 guerrillas and two soldiers, the military said Monday... Back to the top

Artillery duels kill 27 in Sri Lanka, March 03, 2008, 09:30 EDT. COLOMBO (AFP) — Artillery exchanges left at least 25 Tamil rebels and two Sri Lankan soldiers dead, the defence ministry said Monday after the president vowed to destroy the separatist guerrillas... Back to the top

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