Archive for the ‘News Flash!’ Category

h1

Boat carrying refugees capsizes in the sea

December 15, 2006

By Walter Jayawardhana

Valaichenai Police said at least one child died and six others were missing after a a boat of fleeing refugees capsized off Eastern Batticaloa District.

It was not revealed why the boat capsized but Valachchenai Police said the many were admitted to the town’s hospital out of which the ten year old girl had died.

The people were fleeing from Vahara, where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is engaged in heavy fighting with the security forces of the Sri Lanka government.

The ten year old girl who died in the hospital has been identified as Anandarasa Meena. Five others who were rescued from the capsized boat are also admitted in the hospital. Six other people who were also passengers in the boat are missing the police said.

Thousands of people who were prevented of leaving the Vahara area by the LTTE have managed to escape both by land routes as well as by sea, refugees who came out of the area have told aid agencies.

People who came to the government controlled areas have been sent to temporary refugee camps, the Batticaloa based refugee services said.

Advertisements
h1

Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka hints Tamil Tiger era in the East is coming to an end

December 13, 2006

By Walter Jayawardhana

The Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka has dropped a hint to the media that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will be driven out of Eastern Province.

Lieutenant General Fonseka is reported to have briefed the media that his troops engaged at Vakerai and kadiraveli in the Eastern theatre of war have over run two forward defense lines making the enemy retreat and cornered.

The army has indicated that the enemy is going through its final phase of their end in the Eastern Province that started in March 2004 with the departure of Karuna that has never improved from its gradual deterioration since then.

Many analysts believe that the sudden suggestion of the army commander would not have come without a strong confidence in the battle hardened commander that his troops are on their way to victory in their battles engaged right now in the theatre of war in the Eastern Province.

Without quoting him directly, the website for the media center for national security said that Fonseka is reported to have told the media that the insurgents will be driven out of Eastern Province so the people in the area could pursue their daily lives peacefully.

According to the statement, although the the commander did not reveal a time frame for the fall of the LTTE in the East many expected that to be imminent.

The website said the LTTE who escaped from Sampur have now retreated to Vakerai and kadiraveli from where they fire their artillery guns at military garrisons and civilian settlements.

The media center for national security website declared, this is not the first instance the LTTE has lost its hold in the Eastern province.  During the period 1993 – 1994, LTTE influence was swept away under the then Commander of the Eastern   province Brigadier Lucky Algama.

h1

LTTE preparing for massive attack in the East

November 2, 2006

During the peace talks in Geneva the Tigers increased their cadres and their heavy weapons deployment in Kadiraveli, Mavilaru south and Kadjuwatte North areas. After the Peace Talks in Geneva the Tigers escalated their mortar and Artillery attacks on the Kadjuwatte and Mankerni Army camps from their positions in Kadiraweli. These sporadic artillery and mortars attacks intensified but was repulsed successfully by the Security forces. These Tiger attacks reached its peak on Tuesday (31) and on Wednesday (01) with ground and aerial intelligence reports confirmed Tiger terrorist were precisely targeted by air strikes although pro Tiger terrorist media outlets allege otherwise.

With the increasing activities of the Tiger terrorists, there are reports that a total of 189 civilians from the Kaddimurichchikulam and Kirimichiya villages in the Tiger controlled areas have moved across to the government controlled areas. 156 Tamil civilians have moved to Punani and 33 to Mankerni to avoid being caught in the armed conflict which they expect will be launched by the Terrorists. 23 who have come across are infants. All these Tamil civilians have been given food, clothing and shelter by the Security Forces’.

These civilians have escaped to government controlled areas in fear of Tiger reprisals, attacks and being forcibly employed to dig trenches, bunkers, and build defenses as they did in the Sampur, Selvanagar, Mutur areas recently prior to attacks. These civilians have also informed that Tiger terrorists are moving their logistics requirements as heavy mortars, guns, and material for the construction of bunkers as well as anti-personnel mines and Claymore mines as they did before they closed the sluice gates of Mavil Aru on 18th July. The Tamil civilians also are aware of the well known practice of the Tiger terrorists to use innocent Tamil civilians as human shields to gain sympathy for their separatist struggle.

Although the Tiger terrorists announce to the international community that they are the "sole representatives of the Tamil people" while the Armed forces are the enemy. However the arrival of these Tamil civilians to government controlled areas proves to the international community that the Security Forces are their friend and the Tigers their enemy.

Tiger soldier escapees who have surrendered recently to the Security Forces and the Tamil civilians arriving during the past ten days and also the activities of the tiger terrorists in the past few days confirm that a massive attack on the Security Forces is imminent. On the 31st of October, two of the Tiger groups on a reconnaissance mission were killed and their weapons and radio set were recovered. These are the Tiger intelligence gathering reconnaissance patrols to finalize their attack plans.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the Tiger spokesman that they will soon recapture their lost ‘territory’ and the situation created by the Tiger terrorists indicate that they will launch their attack in the East prior to the birthday of their leader on the 26th. However, Tiger terrorists would have to bear the responsibility if they attempt to enter forcibly areas controlled by the Security Forces as it is their duty to create an environment to enable all communities to live in peace.

Meanwhile with the LTTE preparing for offensives in the East the, Sri Lankan Air force conducted precision air strikes today at identified tiger targets in Mannar and Kilinochchi to preempt the LTTE’s offensive efforts.

The first target engaged during early hours was a sea tiger base located North of Mannar and the target details were confirmed both by ground and electronic intelligence sources’ to the Air Force.

The other target engaged around 2.00 p.m was a tiger’s military training base located 10 kms South East of Kilinochchi.

The intelligence and surveillance sources confirmed as heavy damages to the tigers.

Courtesy: MCNS

h1

Guns to the left, guns to the right

September 30, 2006

Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka inspects LTTE weapons and explosives captured by  troops during his inspection tour in Jaffna yesterday.

Tribute to Sri Lankan Armed Forces

h1

UNHCR demands access to war-affected civilians By Easwaran Rutnam

August 19, 2006

Travel restrictions strictly enforced as fighting continues

UNHCR has called on both the government and the LTTE to permit urgent freedom of access to humanitarian aid workers to reach all affected populations from the ongoing fighting between the government troops and the LTTE.

The relief agency estimates more than 162,200 people had fled their homes since fighting erupted in April but remain within the country, while another 6,672 had crossed the Palk Strait to become refugees in India’s Tamil Nadu state.

“We and our partners are now seriously concerned about the welfare of civilians in areas inaccessible to humanitarian agencies because of strictly enforced travel restrictions, as fighting continues in the north and east of Sri Lanka,” UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told the press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva yesterday.

UNHCR notes that with the closure of the A9 access road to the Jaffna peninsula through the LTTE-controlled Kilinochchi District, supplies of food and water have fallen to alarmingly low levels in many locations and as a result, people are hoarding food,while merchants sharply hike prices in local markets.

The Daily Mirror learns however that the government, through the government agent in Jaffna, has warned of taking serious action against traders in Jaffna who sell their goods at exorbitant rates owing to the lack of stocks created by the fierce fighting in the area.

Pagonis meanwhile says the situation in Point Pedro, in the north of the Jaffna peninsula, is even more fluid and unpredictable than in the Jaffna town, as people in the town have sought refuge in large communal buildings while displaced civilians in Point Pedro are staying in vacant homes and with host families, creating electricity, water and sanitation problems.

Eastern districts face a similar crisis. Thousands of displaced families in Muttur, Eachchilampattu Divisions of Trincomalee District, and the Vaharai Division in Batticaloa District, are in desperate need of sustained humanitarian relief, UNHCR said.

Some 15,000 to 20,000 people are now said to be displaced in LTTE-controlled Kilinochchi District as a result of repeated artillery shelling and air strikes. Humanitarian agencies are targeting their help to those displaced people – some 9,500 individuals – living outdoors or in communal buildings.

Around 500 families have reportedly moved to the grounds of the Madhu Church in Mannar District, a previous displacement site during the 1983-2002 civil war. All permanent houses around the church are now fully occupied by displaced people, and nearly 75 families have erected tents in the surrounding area .-Daily Mirror

h1

Senior Sri Lanka rebel says war back on

July 31, 2006

By Simon Gardner

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s two-decade civil war is back on, a top Tamil Tiger told Reuters on Monday, as five soldiers and three rebels were killed in the first army advance on rebel-held territory since a 2002 ceasefire.

S. Elilan, head of the Tigers’ political wing in the restive eastern district of Trincomalee, said army troops had resumed a bid to advance toward land they control in the east and had fired artillery and mortars at their territory in the north.

"The ceasefire agreement has become null and void at the moment," Elilan said by telephone from Trincomalee, adding government troops were continuing an advance toward their forward defense line in the east in a water supply dispute.

"The war is on and we are ready," added Elilan. "The war has begun. It is the government which has started the war … Militarily, we have decided to fight back if the Sri Lankan army enters our area."

Elilan is not the Tigers’ main spokesman, but he is one of their top officials and their political head in Trincomalee. He has repeatedly warned of a return to war.

The military said five soldiers were killed and six injured during a ground battle in the east. The Tigers dismissed army reports that dozens of their fighters were killed, saying three had died in a multi-barrel rocket attack.

The Colombo stock market was 1.5 percent lower in afternoon trade in the wake of the Tiger statement and fresh violence, said Eranjan Kulatunga, an economic analyst at brokerage C.T. Smith.

The rebels, angry at President Mahinda Rajapakse’s outright rejection of their demand for a separate homeland for ethnic Tamils in the north and east, have pulled out of peace talks indefinitely and have been cranking up the rhetoric for months.   Continued…

h1

LTTE reinforces defence lines • After last week’s confrontation with army

July 19, 2006

The LTTE has begun to reinforce its forward defence lines (FDL) in Vakaneri and the surrounding areas after last week’s confrontation with the army.

Visitors from the area said that bunker lines on the main Chenkaladi-Maha Oya highway too were being strengthened. The main line near the Black Bridge where the handover of bodies took place last week too was being strengthened on the day the exchange took place.

LTTE offices in Karadinyanaru confirmed that work was being done on the bunker lines but eastern political head Daya Mohan was not available for comment.

Twelve soldiers and four LTTE cadres were killed in the confrontation on July 15. The Tigers have accused the army of infiltrating 5 km into their areas while the army has refuted the charges saying that the troops were on a routine clearing patrol.

The LTTE has been building new bunker lines at Vavunathivu as well, west of Batticaloa. The LTTE eastern intelligence head Ramanan was killed while inspecting the new bunkers and camps at Vavunathivu.

Soon after last week’s attack the LTTE wrote to the SLMM warning against future attacks if the army forays into their areas.

"Hostile forays by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) into Liberation Tigers controlled territory in Batticaloa district are serious acts of military aggression and have the potential to trigger a major destructive war," Daya Mohan said in the letter.

"SLA soldiers have been firing mortar and artillery rounds indiscriminately from Thursday night into residential areas of Vadamunai and Vakaneri inside the areas of LTTE control. A group of SLA soldiers have Thursday night clandestinely entered into villages past Vakaneri further towards Kulathumadu into LTTE controlled areas and mounted attacks.

"Residents have fled these villages due to fear of further violence. We regard the hostile action by the SLA not only as a serious violation of the Cease Fire Agreement, but more critically as an act of provocation to trigger a major war. This incident exposes Sri Lanka’s President’s reliance on advancing his military agenda while initiating a duplicitous All Party Talks on power sharing to placate the international community.

"We urge the SLMM to take immediate and urgent efforts to prevent the SLA from entering Tamil homelands in the future and to work towards bringing normalcy to people’s lives in affected areas.

"We again strongly condemn the SLA attacks and point out that SLA has seriously violated the CFA," the letter added.

The Morning Leader