The Lanka Academic

MARCH 5, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 334


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Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka admits bigger war losses, march 6. COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka said Wednesday that 100 of its soldiers were killed and a further 800 wounded fighting the Tamil Tigers last month, showing the escalating conflict is bloodier than previously announced.

The casualty figures were given in a statement to the national parliament by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, and were sharply higher than those released by the island's hawkish defence ministry.

"The number of security personnel killed last month was 104, while another 822 soldiers and police were wounded," de Silva said, adding that 80 civilians were killed and 201 wounded in February. More... Discuss this story
Published: Wed Mar 5 21:56:15 EST 2008

Fighting in northern Sri Lanka kills 14 rebels, 2 soldiers, military says
Associated Press, Wed March 5, 2008 06:16 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's military pounded rebel positions with helicopter gunships and fought a series of ground battles with Tamil separatists in fighting that killed 14 guerrillas and two soldiers, the military said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb exploded near the town of Vavuniya inside government-held territory, injuring two police officers, the military said.

Reports of fighting have increased in recent months amid government promises 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 say the army is facing far more resistance than it had expected.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer calls seeking comment Wednesday.

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

Most of the reported fighting broke out Tuesday in the Mannar area along the front lines south of rebel-held territory, according to the military.

In one battle, helicopters attacked rebel targets in Mannar, killing five people, the military said in a statement. Two other nearby battles killed eight other rebels, the military said.

Two soldiers were also killed in the Mannar fighting, it said.

A clash in the Jaffna peninsula north of rebel territory killed one Tamil separatist, the military said.

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: Wed Mar 5 08:59:34 EST 2008 Back to the top

LTTE spreading wings in Kerala?
TOI, march 6. THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A vessel being constructed for use by LTTE at a Kochi dock was seized by Kerala police on Wednesday. The boat was seized from a private entity, Sudhas Marine Engineering, during a joint inspection by the state police and cops from the 'Q' branch of Tamil Nadu, sources said.

The Q Branch had nabbed two LTTE sympathisers, both Sri Lankans, in Trichinappally on Tuesday.

Their interrogation led the police to Kochi and to the boat that was being made in Munambam. Construction of the vessel had begun five months ago but had not completed, Kochi Rural SP M Padmanabhan told TOI. More... Discuss this story
Published: Wed Mar 5 19:45:09 EST 2008 Back to the top

LTTE boat builders arrested
UPI, march 6. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, March 5 (UPI) -- Sri Lankan defense officials say two Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorists have been arrested in a South Indian boatyard... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Maid Dies in Airport Lounge
arabnews, march 6. RIYADH, 6 March 2008 — A Sri Lankan maid, who was going home on completion of her contract, died at the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh on Tuesday, consular officials reported yesterday... Back to the top

Chopper raid kills 5 rebels; 21 dead in Lanka ground clashes
Hindustan Times, march 6. Sri Lankan army helicopters on Wednesday pounded a key LTTE base in the island's north killing five rebels as fierce ground clashes in the restive region left 21 people dead, officials said... Back to the top

Colombo overcomes language problem
hindu, march 6. COLOMBO: After a gap of several years, the government has succeeded in recruiting a number of police officers proficient in Tamil language... Back to the top

Sri Lanka recruits Tamil policemen in east, 2008-03-05 19:34:23 . COLOMBO, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government said Wednesday that it has recruited 175 new police officers from the Tamil minority in the newly liberated Eastern Province and more Tamil police personnel would be recruited in the near future... Back to the top

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... Back to the top

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... Back to the top

Death toll tops 78 in Sri Lankan battles, March 05, 2008, 09:12EDT. COLOMBO (AFP) -- Sri Lankan forces pushed deeper into Tamil Tiger territory in an offensive that has left at least 69 guerrillas and nine government soldiers over the weekend, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday... Back to the top

Commissioner 'rejects Commission'
BBC Sinhala, March 05, 2008, 09:22 EDT. Large number of people reported missing have come back to their homes, says the One Man Presidential Commission that looks into the disappearances and abduction of persons... 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... Back to the top

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

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