Tuesday, July 24, 2007

'Nine soldiers, 4 village guards in LTTE attack'

Army soldiers stand guard on a road in Vavuniya, July 24, 2007. Tamil Tiger rebels ambushed and killed four village policemen in the restive northern district of Vavuniya before dawn on Tuesday, the military said, the latest in a spree of deadly attacks on security forces in the area.

Separatist Tamil militants launched a pair of attacks against government troops in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, killing nine soldiers in a roadside bombing and four village guards in a raid on their bunker, the military said.

The violence came just days after the government held a lavish ceremony celebrating its recapture of eastern Sri Lanka after 13 years of rebel control there. Military officials have said the Tamil Tigers, which still control parts of northern Sri Lanka, have been trying to launch new attacks in retaliation.

In the deadliest attack, assailants detonated an bomb or land mine along a road Tuesday as a bus carrying soldiers passed by in northern Vavuniya district, bordering rebel-controlled territory, military officials said.

The blast tore through the bus, killing nine soldiers and injuring eight others, said Lt. Col. Upali Rajapakse, a military spokesman.

Hours earlier, a group of Tamil fighters armed with hand grenades attacked a bunker in the Vavuniya area, killing four village guards, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe.

Village guards are recruited from ethnic Sinhalese villages bordering rebel areas in northern Sri Lanka to protect their homes against attack.

Two soldiers were wounded in the early morning confrontation, and troops launched an operation to hunt down the attackers, he said.

Tamil Tiger officials did not answer repeated phone calls from The Associated Press.

The attacks came a day after the military said it had killed four guerrillas trying to infiltrate government-controlled Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka at the Muhamalai border post, the military said.

Tamil Tiger rebels have waged a separatist war against the state since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the country's ethnic minority Tamils who have suffered decades of discrimination from majority Sinhalese-controlled governments.

More than 70,000 people have died in the more than two decades of fighting.

The violence has worsened in the last 20 months, with over 5,000 fighters and civilians killed in clashes, assassinations and air strikes, despite a 2002 Norway-brokered cease-fire.

Neither side has withdrawn from the agreement fearing international isolation, but both have publicly declared the truce meaningless.


Muslims in the East cry foul of Karuna group

Muslims in the east have begun to cry loudly of the persecutions, threats and intimidations they daily undergo in the hands of the uncontrollable and ruthless armed cadres of the Karuna Group.

Reports reveal that the Muslims in the East are not yet allowed to walk independently, even after the liberation of the east.

In its latest report, ‘Muslim Guardian’ a news portal claiming to be the ‘Voice of the Sri Lanka Muslims,’ was highly critical of the atrocities of the Karuna Group in one of its news report with a headline "Karuna forcibly s(h)ells his newspapers to Muslims in the liberated East!"

The full text of the news report appeared in the Muslim Guardian ids given below:

(MIC – Sri Lanka) "Eastern Sunrise" was celebrated on 19th July 2007 in the Independence Square to mark the liberation of the Eastern Sri Lanka. However it seems that Muslims in the east are not yet allowed to walk independently, even after the liberation of the east.

It is reported to Muslim Guardian that Karuna group forcibly sells its propaganda newspapers to Muslims in the east especially in the Batticaloa district.

It has become a normal scenario for the innocent Muslims who travel from Batticaloa to Colombo. The armed Karuna group members stop busses along the roadside of the Batticaloa – Colombo road.

Normally the group waits in a white van to stop busses in a jungle area of the road. Once busses are stopped the armed group gets into the bus and forcibly sells its newspaper and collects Rs. 25 for each paper, which is a heavy burden to the passengers.

It is also reported that the under-aged cadres use indecent language even to elders and women to force and threat them to buy a newspaper. If any one travels through the road twice a day he has to buy the newspaper twice, a passenger told Muslim Guardian.

Passengers request the authorities and leaders to intervene in this matter immediately and to stop these kinds of harassments.


LTTE sea tiger leader critically wounded

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)'s sea going arm suffered a major setback on the 18th when a boat explosion critically wounded their leader, Soosei (codename Oska-Sera). The explosion occurred in Nanthikadal lagoon when a sea tiger training exercise was in progress.

Soosei received serious injuries when an explosive laden boat near his command vessel suddenly exploded. Soosei's son (Shankar) and his bodyguard are reported to have been killed in the explosion. Unconfirmed reports from the Mullaithiv LTTE controlled territory suggest that a Sri Lanka Army (SLA)'s special Deep Striking squad (not part of 3SF) was behind the incident.

Meanwhile, army's limited offensive to neutralize LTTE mortars near Mannar FDL has been met with severe resistance. However 4 and 8 man specialized infantry squads have been able to destroy at least 2 LTTE heavy mortar positions in the region. A 4 man Special Forces team who went MIA few days ago have also reported to base on Saturday (21st). Much of the army casualties in these offensives have been caused by Artillery strikes (LTTE is known to have placed a 122mm artillery gun in close proximity to Madhu shrine) and land mines.