The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 236


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Sri Lanka s rebel leader vows to fight, but not resisting peace, Nov 27, 2008. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebel leader vowed on Thursday to carry on with his armed struggle against government troops for an autonomy but he also wished to find a peaceful solution to the ethnic issue.

Making his annual hero's day speech in the island's north Velupillai Prabakaran said his community does not want war and it does not favor violence.

In his speech, published on the official website of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Prabakaran accused the Sri Lankan government headed by the majority Sinhalese of continuing military offensives against minority Tamils.

"Pooling together all its military resources and arsenal, and with all its national wealth to buttress it, the racist Sinhala state has waged a fierce war on our land," Prabakran said.

His speech came as the government on Wednesday announced that the troops have reached Kilinochchi, the rebels' administrative center in the current military thrust.

Referring to the current military action, the rebel leader said his territory is faced with intense war as never before but his organization was not against peaceful negotiations.

"Even though the armed struggle was thrust on us by inevitable needs, yet we wish to stop the war and seek a peaceful resolution to the national question of our people," said the rebel leader. More...
Published: Thu Nov 27 16:12:39 EST 2008

Multiple attacks in Mumbai, 80 dead, hostages taken
Reuters, Nov 27. MUMBAI (Reuters) - At least 80 people were killed in attacks apparently aimed at tourists in India's financial capital Mumbai on Wednesday night and television channels said Westerners were being held hostage at two five-star hotels.

At least 250 people were wounded, police said. Indian television channels reported the chief of Mumbai's police anti-terrorist squad, Hemant Karkare, was among those killed.

Attackers targeted the Cafe Leopold, perhaps the most famous restaurant and hang-out for tourists in Mumbai, as well as hospitals and railway stations.

"I guess they were after foreigners, because they were asking for British or American passports," said Rakesh Patel, a British witness who lives in Hong Kong and was staying at the Taj hotel on business. "They had bombs." More...Discuss this story
Published: Wed Nov 26 15:43:20 EST 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka army: Rebels fleeing northern stronghold
Associated Press, Wed November 26, 2008 03:10 EST . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Rebel forces were retreating Wednesday from the town of Kilinochchi and the government expected to capture the Tamil Tiger's administrative capital imminently, a senior official said.

The fall of Kilinochchi would be devastating to the separatist group, which once controlled a large de facto state in northern Sri Lanka - but has been forced into a rapid retreat in the face of a massive military offensive.

Though the town has little military importance and the rebels would almost certainly fight on without it it is seen as one of the most significant symbols of the rebels' decades-long fight to create an independent state in the north and east of this Indian Ocean island nation.

The rebels used Kilinochchi as the center of their political, police and judicial branches as they assembled the trappings of a state following a 2002 cease-fire. The town played host to numerous meetings between guerrilla leaders and visiting foreign diplomats.

However, the 2002 truce effectively collapsed in new fighting three years ago and the government officially pull out of the pact in January.

Defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Wednesday that government troops were on ``the outskirts'' of Kilinochchi after days of fierce fighting and the rebels' appeared to have abandoned their defenses.

``They are in retreat, they are moving out,'' said Rambukwella, who is also a government minister. ``Their presence is not felt.''

When asked whether the town was expected to fall imminently, he said, ``Yes.''

Other security officials said President Mahinda Rajapaksa would likely make any announcement over the capture of the town.

It was not possible to contact the rebels for comment because the government has severed most communication lines to the north and barred journalists from the war zone.

The military forced the rebels to abandon their strongholds in the east last July before launching an offensive against the Tamil Tigers' main power base in the jungles of the north.

Troops had steadily advanced northward in recent months but became bogged down in positions 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Kilinochchi for weeks as the arrival of seasonal monsoon rains flooded roads and fields and made troop movements far more difficult.

But the military said it would push forward despite the rains, and earlier this week the two sides pounded each other with artillery and mortar shells during three days of intense battles. The military said the fighting killed 122 rebels and 27 soldiers, though both sides have been accused of supplying false casualty figures.

The fight over Kilinochchi came as both sides waited for reclusive rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to make his annual address to the Tamil people Thursday evening. The speech marking Heroes' Day, which honors rebels slain in the fighting, is expected to be broadcast from a hidden transmitter in the jungles of the north.

In light of the fighting and a history of rebel attacks in honor of Heroes' Day, the already high security around Colombo was tightened in recent days, with police stopping cars and questioning occupants at a succession of checkpoints throughout the city.

The rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils after decades of marginalization at the hands of successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. More than 700,000 people have been killed in the violence.

The government has vowed to crush the rebels and end the war by the end of the year.Discuss this story
Published: Wed Nov 26 04:31:27 EST 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka rebel HQ to fall soon  -

Tamil rebel chief seeks to renew good relationship with India
Associated Press, Thu November 27, 2008 10:20 EST . - - Prabhakaran also expressed his gratitude to the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu for the concern shown about the displaced persons in the northern part of Sri Lanka - which prompted Tamil Nadu to send food aid to those affected... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says jets destroy Tamil Tiger radio station, Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:21pm IST. COLOMBO (Reuters) - The defiant leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels said in his annual address on Thursday that a military onslaught against him would be defeated, as air force jets bombed a rebel radio station for the second year running... Back to the top

Sri Lanka condemns Mumbai attacks
Associated Press, Thu November 27, 2008 03:16 EST . - - Colombo (dpa) - Sri Lanka - 's President Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday condemned the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 101 people and called for a concerted action to eradicate terrorism... Back to the top

Tamil Tiger chief dismisses Sri Lankan offensive
Associated Press, Thu November 27, 2008 08:09 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Reclusive Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has dismissed the massive Sri Lankan government offensive against his insurgent group as ``neither novel, nor huge... Back to the top

Sri Lankan military reports fighting with rebels
Associated Press, Thu November 27, 2008 03:57 EST . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Heavy battles broke out between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger fighters in the north, the military said Thursday, a day after a top official said the government would soon capture a vital rebel stronghold... Back to the top

Grim outlook for LTTE on eve of Hero’s Day
The Hindu, 26 Nov 2008. COLOMBO: On the eve of the Hero’s Day address by LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran, the Sri Lankan military on Tuesday claimed to have reached a “significant stage in Wanni liberation operation” by capturing Olumadu in Mullathivu district... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Troops Advance Into Rebel-Held Territory, Army Says, 26 Nov 2008. Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan troops pushed further into rebel-held territory, fighting through monsoon rains to capture a village on a key northern highway, the Defense Ministry said.

Soldiers gained control late yesterday of Olumadu, southeast of the coastal town of Mullaitivu that is controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says advancing on Tamil Tiger bases, 26 Nov 2008. COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka said on Wednesday its troops are poised to capture the Tamil Tigers' political headquarters and are advancing on the rebels' main military base... Back to the top

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