The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 260


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Report: 60 Sri Lankan soldiers killed in fighting
Associated Press, Sun December 21, 2008 01:49 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels killed 60 Sri Lankan troops advancing toward their de facto capital, a pro-rebel report said, but the government denied Sunday that many soldiers had died.

The insurgents struck as the soldiers were preparing an assault in Iranamadu village, just south of the guerrilla headquarters of Kilinochchi, and forced the troops to retreat from recently seized territory, the rebel-affiliated TamilNet Web site reported late Saturday.

The guerrillas recovered 12 bodies of Sri Lankan soldiers, and 150 other troops were wounded, the report said. It did not provide the number of rebel losses.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said there were a ``few'' deaths and some soldiers were reported missing. But he dismissed the casualty figures reported by TamilNet and said soldiers were not in retreat.

``We have not pulled back, we are in the same locations,'' Nanayakkara said.

It was not possible to verify the rebel report because journalists are not allowed in the war zone. Both sides are known to exaggerate enemy casualties and underreport their own losses.

Government forces have seized a large area of rebel-held territory in recent months and forced the Tigers into territory in the northeast.

However, troops have been locked in heavy battles at the edge of Kilinochchi for nearly two months amid heavy monsoon rains and stiff resistance by the rebels.

The guerrillas have claimed at least three major battle successes in recent weeks, the last being the reported killing of 170 soldiers near Kilinochchi on Tuesday.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils who suffered decades of marginalization by successive governments controlled by the Sinhalese majority. The conflict has killed more than 70,000 people.Discuss this story
Published: Sun Dec 21 02:30:16 EST 2008

Navy sinks vessel carrying rebel arms off north-eastern Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Fri December 19, 2008 21:50 EST . - - Colombo (dpa) - The Sri Lankan Navy destroyed a medium-sized vessel carrying a large quantity of military hardware for Tamil rebels in a pre-dawn raid off north-eastern Sri Lanka - , Defence Ministry spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said Saturday.

The vessel was spotted and confronted off Mullaitivu, 410 kilometres north-east of the capital, he said.

Four more boats attempting to provide escort to the rebel vessel were also sunk in the same area, he said.

Nanayakkara said that initial warnings were given for the vessel to stop, and instead the Navy was fired on, prompting the Navy to destroy the ship.

The vessel, with a length of approximately 30 to 40 metres, was engulfed in a ball of fire and sank, the Navy said.

The incident came as government troops backed by the Sri Lankan Air Force stepped up operations against Tamil rebels in the northern province after fierce fighting earlier in the week.

The military said that at least 120 rebels and 25 soldiers were killed and 10 soldiers were reported missing in the confrontations in the Kilinochchi district. Tamil rebels claim that more than 170 soldiers were killed in the battles.

The Sri Lankan military has been facing stiff resistance from the rebels as they attempt to enter the stronghold of Kilinochchi, 370 kilometres north of the capital.

Earlier, the government had vowed to crush the rebels before the end of 2008. dpa ad ff
Published: Sat Dec 20 02:49:14 EST 2008 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka navy says blows up Tamil Tiger weapons ship  -
Sri Lanka says navy destroys rebel ship; 20 killed  - Associated Press

100 bus passengers saved as soldier nabs bomber
The Hindu, 20 Dec 2008. Colombo (PTI): Over 100 passengers travelling in a bus in Sri Lanka had a narrow escape when a suspected LTTE bomber was nabbed while trying to plant a briefcase full of explosives in the crowded vehicle.

The bomb was detected by an Army Sergeant on board the bus. His timely action saved the lives of nearly 100 innocent passengers last evening, army officials said here on Saturday. The bus was plying between Maharagama and North-western Kurunegala area, they said.

The armyman in the bus, who noticed the suspicious movement of a well-dressed "gentleman" carrying a brand new briefcase, tried to get the luggage away from him and that led to the uncovering of the explosives. The army officials said the briefcase contained explosives and detonator which was to be exploded at any given moment, it said.

The passengers then overpowered the bomber and handed him over to Padukka Police station. "Had that not been the presence of mind of the Army Sergeant, many precious lives of the passengers would have been blown to pieces once the bomber receives the signal," the army said in a statement. More...
Published: Sat Dec 20 14:24:06 EST 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka navy destroys rebel arms ship: military, 20 december. COLOMBO (AFP) Sri Lanka's navy on Saturday destroyed a Tamil Tiger vessel carrying arms and other supplies off the island's northeastern coast, the defence ministry said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Govt. says no Xmas ceasefire with LTTE, December 20. Colombo (PTI): A fervent appeal by Catholic and Anglican bishops for a ceasefire with the LTTE during the Christmas and New Year season has failed to evoke a positive response from the Sri Lankan government, which vowed to continue with the offensive against the Tamil Tigers... Back to the top

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