The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 167


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Sri Lanka 's military says heavy fighting kills 70
Associated Press, Fri September 19, 2008 05:10 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger separatists and government forces fought intense battles across Sri Lanka - 's embattled northern region, killing at least 62 rebels and eight soldiers, the military said Friday.

Deadly infantry clashes raged throughout the day Thursday along the front lines separating government controlled territory and the rebels' de facto state in the north, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

Clashes in Kilinochchi district, home to the rebels' de facto capital, killed 17 rebels and five soldiers, he said. Another 14 soldiers were wounded.

Other battles killed 20 insurgents and three soldiers, he said.

The Tamil Tigers, meanwhile, said they repelled a government offensive in Kilinochchi on Thursday, killing 25 soldiers. The report was seen on the rebel-affiliated TamilNet Web site.

A ferocious sea battle off the island's northwest coast on Thursday killed 25 rebel sailors and wounded two government sailors, Nanayakkara said.

He said the four-hour battle off the coast near Nachchikuda resulted in the sinking of seven small rebel boats and three medium-sized ones.

With most communication with the northern areas cut, rebel military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not be reached for comment.

Both sides often offer contradictory versions of fighting that takes place deep in the northern jungles and routinely exaggerate enemy casualties and underreport their own.

Independent verification of the fighting and casualties is difficult to obtain because most journalists are banned from the war zone.

Fighting has escalated on the Indian Ocean island in recent weeks with the government promising to crush the rebels by the end of the year.

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 19 09:17:48 EDT 2008

Tigers on defensive as Sri Lanka military closes in, Friday, Sept 19, 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) Tamil Tigers were once regarded one of the world's most ruthlessly efficient rebels, but they risk losing their mini-state as Sri Lankan forces make a determined push after decades of bloodshed.

After months of bitter fighting, security forces have reached the outskirts of the Tiger political capital -- Kilinochchi -- the six-kilometre (four-mile) long township along the main A-9 highway to the Jaffna peninsula.

Aid workers who evacuated Kilinochchi this week -- in line with a government order to leave ahead of an expected military show down -- said bombs and artillery More...
Published: Fri Sep 19 09:22:09 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sir Lanka military says Navy sinks 10 rebel boats
Associated Press, Thu September 18, 2008 11:20 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Naval forces fought a ferocious sea battle with Tamil Tiger separatists off Sri Lanka - 's northwestern coast Thursday, sinking 10 boats and killing at least 25 rebel sailors, the military said.

The naval confrontation came as intense ground fighting between military forces and the ethnic Tamil separatists in the north killed 15 rebels and three soldiers, according to the military. The rebels, meanwhile, said they killed 25 soldiers in fighting Thursday.

Fighting has escalated in recent weeks with a resurgent government offensive sweeping deep into rebel-held territory, capturing insurgent bases and threatening to overrun the Tamil Tigers' administrative capital at Kilinochchi.

Naval forces sank seven small boats belonging to the Tamil Tigers' naval wing in a four-hour battle off the coast at Nachchikuda and three medium-sized boats, military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said.

Between 25 and 30 rebel sailors were killed in the fighting and two government sailors were wounded, the military said.

The Tamil Tigers, meanwhile, said they had repelled a government offensive in the Kilinochchi district, deep in the rebel heartland Thursday, killing 25 soldiers, according to the rebel-affiliated TamilNet Web site.

The military said in a statement that it killed 15 rebels and lost three of its soldiers Thursday in a separate battle in Kilinochchi.

Each side routinely exaggerates its enemy's casualties and underreports its own. Independent verification of the fighting is not available, since journalists and independent observers are barred from the war zone. Since 1983, more than 70,000 people have died in the rebels' fight for an independent homeland.

In response to a series of attacks in Colombo and other towns far from the war zone, authorities have established a maze of roadblocks and checkpoints in the capital and required visitors from the north to register with police.

With the fighting intensifying, police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera announced Thursday that every Sri Lankan who moved to Colombo from the north in the past five years would have to reregister with police Sunday.

The order will affect more than 100,000 people, he said. The overwhelming majority of those people are ethnic Tamils.

Tamils, who suffered decades of marginalization by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority, complain they are subject to frequent police raids in the capital, harassment and arbitrary detentions.Discuss this story
Published: Thu Sep 18 22:14:57 EDT 2008 Back to the top

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Military: Navy sinks 10 rebel boats, killing 25  - Associated Press
Navy destroys rebel boat off north-western Sri Lanka  - Associated Press

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Single day of fighting kills 71 in Sri Lanka
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