SRI LANKA: Scarcity, Insecurity as Army Besieges Rebel Hq
Monday, July 14, 2008 10:39 GMT .
By Feizal Samath
COLOMBO, Jul 14 (IPS) - With the Sri Lankan army closing in on the Wanni, the headquarters of the Tamil Tigers in the north of the island, the embattled civilian population has been hit not only by scarcities but also by deep insecurity, according to humanitarian agencies remaining in the area.
The Wanni brings together the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu (on the east coast) and parts of Vavuniya and Mannar (on the northwest coast).
In heavy offensives government troops have taken control of at least 80 percent of Mannar and Vavuniya, while the other two districts are still being held by the rebels. Last year, the Tigers lost much of the eastern district, including the harbor town of Trincomalee, to the Sri Lankan army.
Confident of winning his war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse told reporters in India on Sunday that he was now prepared to hold talks with the rebels, provided they disarm.
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Published: Mon Jul 14 06:43:00 EDT 2008