The Lanka Academic

APRIL 5, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 365


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Sri Lanka's disappeared: Gang demands Tamil exiles pay ransom for kidnapped relatives
Independent, April 6. For some refugees, finding asylum in Britain is not the end of the nightmare, but the beginning. And no one knows this better than Tamils such as Ariyathas Pushpathas.

Ten years ago, as a 17-year-old, he fled Sri Lanka after his sister died in an air-raid. Six months ago, his brother and cousin were kidnapped in Colombo by "agents" claiming to act on behalf of the island's Karuna Faction militia, now a de-facto extension of Sri Lanka's intelligence services. And last month he was approached outside his west London church by two Sri Lankan men claiming to know the whereabouts of his kidnapped relatives. They asked him to hand over his savings or his relatives in Colombo would face further violence and intimidation.

In Colombo his family have faced similar blackmail. His terrified aunt, Maria Regina, sold her home, took a loan she could never repay and handed over $25,000. Both the kidnap victims are still missing. They are not alone. In the last year alone, hundreds have been taken, never to be seen again. More... Discuss this story
Published: Sat Apr 5 22:49:32 EDT 2008

LTTE losing control of Madu area, says Army Chief
hindu, April 06, 2008. JAFFNA: Sri Lanka’s Army Chief has claimed that the shifting of of the statue of Our Lady by priests of the Madu Church under LTTE pressure, was an indication that the Tigers had lost control of the area.

Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka told the state-owned Daily News: “They [the priests] took away the statue as they were under LTTE pressure.”

According to the him, the statue was taken to Vellankulam, some 20 km north of Mannar, by the priests on Thursday evening under LTTE pressure. The Defense Ministry said that hardcore LTTE cadres were dominating the church after the priests had vacated it.

Lt. Gen. Fonseka said that though ground troops had surrounded the Madhu church, they did not even return the mortar fire directed at them by LTTE men since they did not want to damage the church. More...Discuss this story
Published: Sat Apr 5 16:16:54 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's military says fresh battles across north kill 15 rebels, 1 soldier
Associated Press, Sat April 5, 2008 03:43 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Scattered battles between government troops and Tamil Tiger separatists across Sri Lanka - 's embattled north killed 15 rebels and one soldier, the military said Saturday.

Reports of fighting have increased in recent months amid government promises to capture the 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 more resistance than it had expected.

A defense ministry official said the latest round of battles took place Friday near the front lines that separate government-controlled territory and rebel territory in the north. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

In the worst battle, army troops killed eight guerrillas in the northern Vavuniya district, while fighting elsewhere in the region killed seven rebels and one soldier, the official said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment.

It was not possible to independently verify the military's claims because journalists are banned from the war zone. The government and rebels often exaggerate the other side's casualties and underreport their own.

The rebels have fought since 1983 for an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, who have been marginalized for decades by successive governments run by majority ethnic Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.Discuss this story
Published: Sat Apr 5 12:47:06 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Thilan Samaraweera's 125 rescues wobbly Sri Lanka in 2nd test
Associated Press, Sat April 5, 2008 18:16 EDT . CRAIG COZIER - Associated Press Writer - PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) Thilan Samaraweera smacked a brilliant 125 to rescue a wobbling Sri Lanka - on Saturday and set West Indies 253 to win the second cricket test and save the series... Back to the top

Army, LTTE trade charges on church
hindu, April 05, 2008. COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan military and the LTTE on Friday accused each other of converting the Madu church premises in Mannar “into a war zone” amid the Bishop of Mannar’s disclosure that he had instructed the priests to move out of the church along with statue of “Our Lady... Back to the top

LTTE captures Mannar church, 26 killed in Lanka clashes
pti, April 4. Colombo (PTI): At least 24 Tamil Tigers and two soldiers were killed in fierce clashes while a rebel training base was destroyed by Air Force jets on Friday in embattled northern Sri Lanka, where the guerrillas have occupied a historic church, the military said... Back to the top

JVP 'suspends' Weerawansa
BBC, April 4. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's political ally, Jantha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), has decided to take displinary action against one of their most senior leaders... Back to the top

Sir Lanka strikes Tamil rebel base, April 4. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, April 4 (UPI) -- Sri Lanka said Friday that its jets bombed and destroyed a Tamil Tiger rebel training base in the northern part of the island nation... Back to the top

West Indies keeps pace with Sri Lanka , replies with 268 for seven on day two
Associated Press, Fri April 4, 2008 18:34 EDT . CRAIG COZIER - Associated Press Writer - PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) Ramnaresh Sarwan hit a fine 57 for the West Indies on Friday, but three wickets from Muttiah Muralitharan ensured that Sri Lanka - maintained parity on day two of the second cricket test at the Queen's Park Oval... Back to the top

West Indies reply strongly at 133 for one against Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Fri April 4, 2008 14:33 EDT . CRAIG COZIER - Associated Press Writer - PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) The West Indies raced to 133 for one to reply to Sri Lanka - 's first innings 278, before light rain forced an early tea on day two of their second cricket on Friday... Back to the top

Iranians arrested in TN suspected for training LTTE, 4 april. Two Iranians arrived at Arichalmunai seashore along with a group of 12 Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in Rameswaram on Thursday... Back to the top

Sri Lankan military: Fighting in volatile north kills 21 Tamil rebels, 5 soldiers
Associated Press, Fri April 4, 2008 02:19 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's air force bombed and destroyed a Tamil separatist training camp in the island's north, while battles along the northern front lines left 21 rebels and five soldiers dead, the military said Friday... Back to the top

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