The Lanka Academic

APRIL 21, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 9, NO. 16


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Headline Summary
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Aid group leaves Sri Lanka , expressing doubts about probe into massacre of its workers
Associated Press, Mon April 21, 2008 11:16 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) International aid group Action Against Hunger has pulled out of Sri Lanka - saying it has no trust in a government investigation into the massacre of 17 of its workers nearly two years ago, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The withdrawal of the group was the latest blow to the government's probe of the killings and several other alleged human rights abuses during its war with Tamil rebels.

Last month, an international panel of experts monitoring the government's commission of inquiry announced it was resigning in frustration. The panel criticized the probe as lethargic, said it did not meet international standards, and accused the government of lacking the will to properly investigate the incidents.

Action Against Hunger closed its Colombo office and left the country March 31, following the resignation of the panel, spokeswoman Lucile Grosjean said.

Grosjean said the presence of the panel, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, was vital for the credibility of the investigation.

``We now want an international panel to lead the inquiry. We do not have enough confidence in the Sri Lankan system,'' she said.

Grosjean said even though several different bodies were investigating the killings, none had made enough progress.

Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarsinghe declined to comment on the group's pullout, saying the issue was a matter for the commission of inquiry to resolve.

The 17 local workers for Action Against Hunger were killed after a fierce battle between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in the eastern town of Muttur in August 2006.

European monitors blamed the security forces for the killings. The government denied the allegations and blamed the rebels.

A local human rights group issued a report earlier this month on its investigation into the incident, accusing police and paramilitary forces of shooting the victims as they knelt on the ground and begged for their lives.

In response to that report, Action Against Hunger called for an international inquiry into the killings. The government has rejected such an inquiry, saying it would infringe on its sovereignty.

The aid group had been working on projects such as providing food, improving agriculture and water sanitation since 1997.

``If there is a satisfactory outcome (to the investigations) maybe we could go back. There is still a lot of humanitarian work to be done,'' Grosjean said.Discuss this story
Published: Mon Apr 21 15:43:34 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka threatens to use police against rice hoarders
The News, April 22. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Monday warned it will use security forces and the police to crack down on traders suspected of hoarding rice following government-imposed price controls, officials said.

Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardena ordered the police to use tough emergency laws to crack down on wholesale dealers who say they are unable to sell rice at prices specified by the government.

On Thursday, Gunawardena set a maximum retail price of the most popular Samba rice at 70 rupees a kilogramme (65 US cents), but traders said it was blow their cost.The government has now set up a consumer court to punish dealers who violate the price ceiling. More... Discuss this story
Published: Mon Apr 21 21:27:15 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lankan jets destroy three Tamil Tiger boats in air strike, military says
Associated Press, Mon April 21, 2008 05:08 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets attacked the Tamil Tiger naval wing early Monday, destroying three rebel boats as fighting raged between the two sides in the country's civil war, the military said.

Government troops also attacked a rebel base across the front lines in the Mannar region early Monday, killing seven rebels, Nanayakkara said. A day earlier, fighting left 33 combatants dead, the military said.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not immediately available for comment. Both sides routinely release inflated casualty figures for the other side and underreport their own losses.

Independent accounts of the fighting are unavailable because there is no media access to the war zone.

Alerted by navy intelligence early Monday, air force jets attacked two Sea Tiger boats parked on the coast of Mullaittivu, inside the rebels' de facto state in the north, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

A third boat, which was floating in nearby waters and had a weapon mounted on it, was also destroyed in the air strike, he said.

Fighting on Sunday killed 28 rebels and five soldiers, he said.

The violence came after rebels accused government forces of infiltrating their territory Sunday and setting off a roadside bomb that killed a Roman Catholic priest who was also a human rights activist. The military denied the attack.

The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for Tamils, who have been marginalized for decades by successive governments controlled by majority Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.Discuss this story
Published: Mon Apr 21 07:43:49 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka says kills 47 rebels, destroys boats, April 21, 2008. COLOMBO, April 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan government planes bombed three Tamil Tiger boats off the northern coast on Monday, the military said, after fighting since the weekend left 47 rebels dead... Back to the top

Roadside bomb kills prominent Catholic priest and rights activist in the north, rebels say
Associated Press, Sun April 20, 2008 21:06 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A roadside bomb set off by government soldiers in rebel-held territory killed a Roman Catholic priest who was also a human rights activist, the insurgents said... Back to the top

Ajith Cabraal - BBC Hard Talk
bbc, April 20, 2008. Earlier this year the Sri Lankan government formally withdrew from the long ignored ceasefire agreement with the Tamil Tigers... Back to the top

Sri Lanka's white van victims found at CID, TID
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, April 21, 2008, 2.07 p.m.. Several Tamils who were abducted in Colombo and suburbs by unidentified gangs that came in white vans during the last three weeks have been allegedly found at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID), The Nation newspaper reported today... Back to the top

LTTE refutes government claims of destroying arms boats, Aprilo 20, 2008, 08:30 EDT. Colombo, April 20 (IANS) The Tamil Tiger rebels Sunday disputed Sri Lankan Air Force claims that it has bombed and destroyed three arms boats of the Sea Tigers south of Mullaitivu in the north a day earlier... Back to the top

32 Tiger rebels killed in Sri Lanka
The Hindu, April 20, 2008 - 08:30 EDT. Colombo (PTI): At least 32 Tiger rebels and a Human Rights activist were killed in intense clashes in Sri Lanka's embattled north as fighter jets attacked a rebel target in the LTTE stronghold of Mullaitivu... Back to the top

French aid group to quit Lanka in disgust, 20 April 2008. COLOMBO Describing the August 2006 killing of 17 Sri Lankan aid workers as a war crime, a French aid group which employed them has said it is withdrawing from Sri Lanka in disgust... Back to the top

LTTE base falls to army, 23 rebels killed
PTI, April 21. At least 23 Tiger rebels were killed in Sri Lanka's restive north as Army took control of an important LTTE base amidst air attacks on other rebel targets... Back to the top

LTTE base falls to army, 23 rebels killed
PTI, April 21. At least 23 Tiger rebels were killed in Sri Lanka's restive north as Army took control of an important LTTE base amidst air attacks on other rebel targets... Back to the top

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