The Lanka Academic

 
SEPTEMBER 12, 2008 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 9, NO. 160

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Sri Lanka says Tamil rebels killed 7 farmers
Associated Press, Thu September 11, 2008 12:40 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels shot dead seven farmers Thursday in a jungle in eastern Sri Lanka - after a pre-dawn attack by government troops on insurgent bunkers along the northern front lines killed four guerrillas, the military said.

The farmers were shot while they were visiting their fields in eastern Ampara district, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

Rebel spokesmen could not be reached for comment on the allegation or on several battles reported by the military Thursday. Most lines of communication to rebel-held areas have been cut in recent weeks. Independent verification of the fighting is difficult to obtain because most journalists are banned from the war zone. Both sides routinely exaggerate enemy losses and underreport their own.

Around 3 a.m. Thursday, soldiers crept south across the front lines and into rebel-held territory near the village of Kilali in the northern Jaffna peninsula and attacked enemy bunkers, said Nanayakkara.

He said soldiers killed four rebels before retreating to their bunkers. The soldiers suffered no casualties, he said.

Scattered battles Wednesday in Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Welioya and the eastern Batticaloa region killed 15 other rebels and wounded 11 soldiers, he said.

Violence in the northern war zone has escalated as the government pressed ahead with its promise to crush the ethnic Tamil separatists and end the 25-year-old civil war by the end of the year. In recent weeks, a reinvigorated military offensive seized large areas of land from the rebels.

The new round of fighting has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee deeper into rebel-held territory. The government has ordered nearly all aid workers in rebel-held territory to leave the area, even as humanitarian workers have expressed concerns for the welfare of those displaced by the fighting.

An official, meanwhile, criticized a Tuesday statement by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who expressed concern about increased hostilities in the north.

``Unfortunately the secretary-general may not have realized that his remarks could be used to an advantage by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (rebels), who will use any weapon ... including an innocent secretary-general to halt the advance of Sri Lankan forces,'' said Rajiva Wijesingha, a government bureaucrat on Thursday.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Published: Fri Sep 12 02:22:07 EDT 2008


Military: Sri Lanka fighting kills 42
Associated Press, Fri September 12, 2008 04:30 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A round of new fighting between government forces and separatist Tamil Tigers across the Sri Lanka - 's embattled north killed 41 rebels and one soldier, the military said Friday.

The latest clashes erupted all day Thursday along the front lines separating government-held territory and the rebels' de facto state in the north, a military statement said.

According to the statement, the worst of Thursday's fighting took place in the Kilinochchi district deep in the rebel's northern heartland. A total of 19 rebels and one soldier were killed and 11 soldiers were wounded.

Twelve rebels were killed in three separate clashes in Vavuniya, and 10 rebels died in scattered battles in Welioya and Jaffna, the statement said.

Rebel spokesmen could not be reached for comment. Most lines of communication to rebel-held areas have been cut in recent weeks.

It was not possible to independently verify the military's claims because most journalists are banned from the war zone. Both sides routinely exaggerate enemy losses and underreport their own.

Violence in the northern war zone has escalated as the government pressed ahead with its promise to crush the ethnic Tamil separatists and end the 25-year-old civil war by the end of the year. In recent weeks, a reinvigorated military offensive seized large areas of land from the rebels.

The new round of fighting has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee deeper into rebel-held territory. The government has ordered nearly all aid workers in rebel-held territory to leave the area, even as humanitarian workers have expressed concerns for the welfare of those displaced by the fighting.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Published: Fri Sep 12 08:50:41 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Sri Lanka , relief groups discuss aid for displaced
Associated Press, Fri September 12, 2008 14:01 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The government and international aid groups began working on Friday on a deal to deliver emergency food aid to 160,000 civilians displaced by Sri Lanka - 's raging civil war in the wake of a ban on relief agencies in rebel-held areas.

Aid groups and U.N. agencies have already begun to withdraw their staff and equipment from the northern areas under Tamil Tiger control, though they have expressed concern that many will starve as a result of the government's order that humanitarian groups leave the war zone.

An aid official said Friday's meeting ended without a decision on the major issue of how to ensure that aid continues to flow into the conflict area, but that the two sides would meet again to discuss it. The government has agreed to allow local staff to stay to assist with the distribution of stocks left behind, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he thought the government should announce the results of the discussion.

Government officials involved in the talks did not immediately return calls for comment.

The talks came amid a resurgent government offensive that has captured swaths of territory from the Tamil Tigers in recent weeks. The military has vowed to defeat the rebels and end the 25-year civil war by the end of the year.

New fighting along the front lines Thursday killed 41 rebels and one soldier, the military said in a statement.

With most lines of communication to the north cut, rebel spokesmen could not be reached for comment. It was not possible to independently verify the military's claims because most journalists are banned from the war zone.

As tens of thousands of civilians fled their homes to escape the fighting, the government on Monday ordered humanitarian groups and U.N. agencies to evacuate their staffs and leave the rebel areas for their own safety.

The U.N. agencies and 13 aid groups in the region provided emergency food aid, clean water and sanitation to the displaced.

Internal documents circulated among the aid groups and obtained by The Associated Press show that the U.N. World Food Program was feeding nearly 120,000 displaced people, while private aid agencies were feeding 40,000. The groups were also in the process of building thousands of shelters for those forced from their homes.

Some aid groups have already shut down their operations to comply with the government order, while others were wrapping up their work, said Jeevan Thayagarajah, executive director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies, an umbrella group for relief groups.

Hundreds of civilians protested Friday against the aid groups' departure. Dozens blocked a convoy of trucks that was carrying humanitarian workers and equipment from the area, according to aid workers.

``They wanted us to stay there basically,'' U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross will remain in the area under a special agreement with the government that takes into consideration the group's unique role as an intermediary between the two parties, said ICRC spokeswoman Aleksandra Matijevic.

Even before the government decision, the escalating fighting was making it difficult for aid groups to work in the area. One aid official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to release details of the operations in rebel areas, said relief workers spent hours a day taking refuge in bunkers because of increased government air raids.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Published: Fri Sep 12 18:26:22 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Colombo takes exception to Banís remarks
hindu.com, Friday, Sep 12, 2008. B. Muralidhar Reddy COLOMBO: Colombo on Thursday took serious exception to the remarks made by the UN Secretary-General on the situation in the north and complained that they could be "used to advantage" by the LTTE... Back to the top

Military harassment threatens Sri Lanka s oasis of peace
csmonitor.com, September 11, 2008. Batticaloa and Trincomalee, Sri Lanka - The chief minister of Sri Lanka's eastern province nodded with concern as a member of the provincial council described a security problem... Back to the top

Genial Sri Lankans still the best
gulfnews, sep 12. Dubai: One of the enduring legacy that the former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has left on his country's game, apart from winning a World Cup, is to serve with a smile... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's prime minister to visit Japan next week+
Associated Press, Fri September 12, 2008 07:17 EDT . TOKYO, Sept. 12 (Kyodo) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake will visit Japan for four days starting Monday, the Foreign Ministry said Friday. Wickremanayake is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Wednesday, the ministry said... Back to the top

7 farmers killed by suspected rebels in E Sri Lanka
xinhuanet.com, 2008-09-11 22:37:36. COLOMBO, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The military in Sri Lanka said on Thursday at least seven farmers were killed by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in a jungle area in eastern Sri Lanka. Officials from the Ministry of Defense said the bodies were found by local people around 10:00 a... Back to the top

Sri Lanka troops attack Tamil rebels
Associated Press, Thu September 11, 2008 03:31 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Government troops launched a pre-dawn attack on Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers Thursday along the northern front lines, setting off a battle that killed four guerrillas, the military said... Back to the top

FACTBOX-Security developments in Sri Lanka, Sept 11
Reuters India, Sept 11, 2008. Sept 11 (Reuters) - Following are security developments in Sri Lanka at 1230 GMT on Thursday: JAFFNA PENINSULA - Sri Lankan troops killed at least four Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, including a local commander, in the Jaffna peninsula 400 km (250 miles) north of Colombo, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said... Back to the top

West Indies' Chanderpaul gets top cricket honor
Associated Press, Wed September 10, 2008 19:56 EDT . - - Sri Lanka - captain Mahela Jayawardene was also up for both awards... Back to the top

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