The Lanka Academic

 
MAY 10, 2008 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 9, NO. 35

TLA FORUM

Express your opinions, meet others at the TLA Forum!
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
Eastern Sri Lanka holds election amid allegations of intimidation, voting fraud
Associated Press, Sat May 10, 2008 07:08 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - VALAICHCHENAI, Sri Lanka - (AP) A climate of fear hung over Sri Lanka - 's Eastern Province elections Saturday following attacks blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels and accusations of intimidation against a breakaway guerrilla group that backs the ruling party. The opposition United National Party and its allies in the Sri Lanka - Muslim Congress accused the ruling party of misusing state resources in the campaign and said the TMVP carried weapons during the campaign and threatened voters and candidates.

Kingsley Rodrigo, head of the People's Action for Free and Fair Elections, an independent monitoring group, said the TMVP threatened and intimidated voters across the province on Saturday as well.

``There are many, many violations taking place,'' he said.

Other monitors reported gangs of people traveling between polling stations and voting numerous times in Valaichchenai and other nearby towns.

The gangs presented false identity cards signed by local officials saying they lived in the area, said Sunanda Deshapriya, an official with the independent Center for Monitoring Election Violence.

Opposition observers have been threatened and forced to leave many of polling stations, he said. ``At almost every station (in the area), stuffing is taking place,'' he said.

The former rebels have been accused by residents and international rights groups of waging a campaign of terror, killing opponents, extorting money from businessmen and forcibly conscripting new recruits including children.

In a sign that the violence cuts both ways, a supporter of the ruling coalition, S. Tarek, was attacked by opposition supporters outside a polling station in the town of Eravur, north of Batticaloa, his brother-in-law Mustafa Nazir said. Medical workers said Tarek suffered a broken skull.

Despite the threats and violence, 46 percent of the province's nearly 1 million registered voters had cast ballots by noon, Rodrigo said.

A new round of attacks blamed on the Tamil Tigers cast a cloud over the election.

Suspected rebels bombed and sank an empty navy cargo ship in the eastern port town of Trincomalee early Saturday, but caused no injuries, navy spokesman Cmdr. D.K.P. Dassanayake said.

Rebels fired seven mortar rounds into the village of Pannalgama in the eastern Ampara district, wounding four civilians, including a 10-year-old child, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

The Tamil Tigers have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for minority ethnic Tamils, who have been marginalized by successive governments controlled by majority Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people have been killed.
Published: Sat May 10 08:54:41 EDT 2008


Tamil Tigers sink Sri Lankan naval ship in Trincomalee(Lead)
IANS, May 10. Colombo, May 10 (IANS) A Sri Lankan naval logistic supply vessel was sunk in a powerful pre-dawn underwater explosion by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in the heavily-guarded Eastern Trincomalee harbour Saturday, hours before a crucial provincial poll, naval sources said. “One of our logistic supply ships - A520 - birthed at the Ashraff harbour in Trincomalee was blasted and sunk in an underwater sea explosion around 2.15 a.m. There was no damage to the crew members,” Navy spokesman Commander D.K.P. Dassanayake told IANS over phone early Saturday.

He said that the navy was now engaged in extensive search operation in and around the area.

The Defence ministry said that the A-520 was a merchant vessel built in 1970s and was handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy, following a court order after it was apprehended while transporting illegal migrants off Tangalle in 2003.

The Tamil Tiger rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack. More...Discuss this story
Published: Fri May 9 21:26:31 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
·
Sri Lanka Tamil rebels sink navy ship on east coast; new ground fighting kills 26  - Associated Press
·
Sri Lanka accuses rebels of sinking navy ship  - reuters.com

Rights group unhappy that Britain did not charge former Sri Lankan rebel for alleged abuses
Associated Press, Sat May 10, 2008 03:42 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Amnesty International complained that Britain released a former Sri Lankan rebel leader without prosecuting him for alleged war abuses including killings, abductions and using child soldiers.

Despite six months of investigation Britain failed to find sufficient evidence to charge former Tamil Tiger leader Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, the London-based human rights group said in a statement received in Sri Lanka - Saturday after being issued Friday.

Muralitharan, also known as Karuna, was freed from a British prison after serving a sentence for possessing false documents, the British Embassy said in a statement Friday.

He was sentenced to nine months in jail in January. The embassy statement did not say why he was released after just three months.

``We are deeply concerned that Karuna and his faction have allegedly been responsible for murder and abductions and are still believed to be involved in intimidation and child recruitment,'' the embassy statement said.

``The Crown Prosecution Service has advised the Metropolitan Police Service that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for any criminal offenses in the U.K.,'' it added.

Muralitharan defected from the Tamil Tigers in 2004 with thousands of his men and formed his own militia. The next year, his group joined the Sri Lankan government in the fight against their ex-comrades and helped government forces chase the Tamil Tigers from their eastern strongholds.

His political party, Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, contested town council elections in March and won convincingly.

The party was also contesting Saturday's Eastern Provincial elections. Opposition parties have alleged that the group terrorized opposing candidates during the campaign.

The Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils in the island's north and east.
Published: Sat May 10 08:56:33 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Sri Lankan military says bomb blast kills 11 in eastern town hours before key election
Associated Press, Fri May 9, 2008 11:59 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka - (AP) A bomb blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels tore through a cafe Friday evening in eastern Sri Lanka - , killing 11 people and casting a cloud over crucial provincial elections scheduled for Saturday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : military says it captures small northern town as clashes kill 31 Tamil rebels
Associated Press, Fri May 9, 2008 07:39 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers captured a small town in the north Friday and fought another fierce battle nearby, killing 31 Tamil rebels and losing three soldiers, the military said... Back to the top

Rights group unhappy that Britain did not charge ex-Sri Lankan rebel with alleged abuses
Associated Press, Sat May 10, 2008 04:33 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Amnesty International said it is concerned that Britain released a former Sri Lankan rebel leader without prosecuting him for alleged war abuses including killings, abductions and using child soldiers... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's tumultuous east worries about security, future as voters go to polls
Associated Press, Sat May 10, 2008 04:43 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - VALAICHCHENAI, Sri Lanka - (AP) A climate of fear hung over Sri Lanka - 's Eastern Province elections Saturday following attacks blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels and accusations of intimidation against a breakaway guerrilla group that backs the ruling party... Back to the top

Sri Lanka military says it captures small northern town
Associated Press, Fri May 9, 2008 06:08 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's military announced the capture of a small town in the north after fighting Friday, calling it an important step in dismantling guerrilla strongholds in the area... Back to the top

© Copyright 2000-2005 Lanka Academic Network.