The Lanka Academic

 
AUGUST 7, 2008 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 9, NO. 124

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“Cut off NGOs’ aid to LTTE”
HINDU, August 8. COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Thursday reasserted there was no question of holdings talks or declare a ceasefire unless the LTTE lays down its weapons and demonstrates its genuine interest to negotiate.

Minister and spokesperson Keheliya Rembukwella said at a news conference “rumours” were spread during the recent SAARC Summit that security forces had halted the offensive in the north. “There is not an iota of truth in these rumours. As a matter of policy, the government is determined to weaken the LTTE militarily.” He claimed the police and security forces were engaged in a “humanitarian mission with a great determination to liberate Kilinochchi and Mullathivu...”

“The government has taken a policy decision to continue this humanitarian mission until all the innocent Tamil civilians are liberated from the LTTE. Till that [goal is achieved], the government will never go for negotiations or accept the conditions put forward by the terrorists,” he said More...Discuss this story
Published: Thu Aug 7 21:48:25 EDT 2008


Church near Sri Lanka front line cancels festival
Associated Press, Thu August 7, 2008 05:57 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A popular annual festival at a revered Roman Catholic church near the front lines of Sri Lanka - 's civil war has been canceled because the government and Tamil rebels have failed to recognize the area as a peace zone, officials said Thursday.

Meanwhile, new fighting in the restive north killed 11 Tamil Tiger rebels and a soldier, the military said.

The 17th century church in Madhu, 130 miles north of Colombo, has attracted hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every August who come to see a statue of the Virgin Mary believed to have miraculous healing powers.

Roman Catholic Church officials said this year's festival has been canceled because of safety concerns.

``We do not expect therefore pilgrims this time at Madhu,'' the Rev. Rayappu Joseph, bishop of the northern Mannar region, said in a statement.

The rebels controlled the territory around the church, but abandoned it in April during fighting in the area. Priests fled the church during the fighting and returned only Wednesday after four months.

The priests have repeatedly appealed to both government forces and Tamil rebels to avoid clashes near the shrine.

In 1999, 44 civilians were killed when the church was hit by artillery shells. They were among 3,500 people who sought shelter in the church to escape fighting.

The military said new fighting Wednesday in the Welioya district killed 10 rebels and a soldier, while another rebel died in Mullaitivu.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment and it was not possible to verify the military's claims because reporters are barred from the war zone.

Both sides often exaggerate their enemy's casualties and underreport their own losses.

The government says its troops are advancing into guerrilla territory and will soon capture their de facto state.

The Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils who have faced marginalization by successive governments controlled by ethnic Sinhalese.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.Discuss this story
Published: Thu Aug 7 06:56:42 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Sri Lanka says offensive against rebels succeeding
reuters.com, Aug 7. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's government said on Thursday it was making gains in an offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels, as soldiers killed 16 rebels in fresh battles in the north.

Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella also rejected any possibility of a ceasefire or peace talks at this stage, saying this could only happen if the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were to lay down arms unconditionally.

"Surely, definitely, positively we are moving forward and we will not turn at any point," said Rambukwella, who is also minister for foreign employment and welfare. More...Discuss this story
Published: Thu Aug 7 10:43:54 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Six LTTE militants held
ptinews.com, Fri Aug 8 00:22:04 CEST 2008. Rameswaram (TN), Aug 7 (PTI) Six LTTE militants and their accomplice in Tamil Nadu have been arrested today in connection with the seizure of 26 'acid cans' near here on July 30, police said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : air force destroys rebel boats
Associated Press, Wed August 6, 2008 08:21 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan forces attacked a Tamil Tiger rebel defense line at seven locations Wednesday in the island's north, killing five insurgents hours before air force jets bombed a rebel sea base destroying two boats, the military said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka troops kill 42 rebels in northern battles
reuters.com, Aug 6, 2008 . COLOMBO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan troops killed 42 Tamil Tiger guerrillas in two days of fighting in the north of the island, the military said on Wednesday, pressing on with an offensive against rebel strongholds... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : New fighting kills 11 rebels, 1 soldier
Associated Press, Thu August 7, 2008 01:48 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) New fighting in Sri Lanka - 's restive north killed 11 Tamil Tiger rebels and a soldier, the military said Thursday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : 28 rebels, 4 soldiers killed
Associated Press, Wed August 6, 2008 03:42 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Infantry combat and a roadside bomb blast in Sri Lanka - 's restive north and east killed 28 Tamil Tiger rebels and four government soldiers, the military said Wednesday... Back to the top

Two more LTTE operatives held in Chennai
thaindian.com, August 06, 2008. Chennai, Aug 6 (IANS) Two more cadres of Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were arrested early Wednesday here and sent to judicial custody, the police said... Back to the top

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