Daily Archives: July 30, 2006
Batticaloa leader says Govt. has declared war
Israeli-built Kfir jets of the Sri Lanka Air Force yesterday bombed a major base of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Karadiyanaru, 23 kilometres west of Batticaloa, where a meeting of guerrilla cadres was in progress.
The attack that followed accurate intelligence, military sources told The Sunday Times last night, left at least 40 guerrilla cadres dead. Among those wounded was LTTE’s Military Wing leader for the Batticaloa district, Banu.
Armed LTTE groups cordoned off the area and played down the incident. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were refused entry to the scene for some three hours after the attack. LTTE’s Batticaloa political leader Daya Mohan claimed that Banu was not present at the time of the bombing that left eight dead and four wounded. However, intelligence sources who spoke on grounds of anonymity told The Sunday Times that the Air Force had targeted the LTTE office accurately and confirmed Banu was among the injured.
The air attack at 11 a.m. yesterday came during the fourth successive day of bombing on LTTE targets. It began last Wednesday afternoon after Tiger guerrillas placed a water blockade shutting down the Mavil Aru anicut. The move deprived water to some 30,000 acres of paddy that is ready for harvest and large extents of farmland. This anicut is located on the Trincomalee side of the border that separates it from the Batticaloa district. The border is defined by the Verugal river. Water from the Mavil Aru anicut flows to paddy lands in villages north of the Batticaloa district and is said to benefit some 15,000 families.
The four-day-long bombing raids have focused on an LTTE camp in Verugal where 16 guerrillas were killed and nearly 40 injured. Yesterday’s air attack was the first in the Batticaloa district. The previous targets including an airstrip now taking shape were in the Mullaitivu and Trincomalee districts.
LTTE’s Daya Mohan charged that the air raids were a violation of the ceasefire and claimed the action showed the Government had declared war. At the time of the incident, LTTE cadres have been meeting to discuss plans for a passing out parade of civilians who formed a Civilian Militia. They had completed military training. However, military sources said the air attacks backed by ground action were prompted by the LTTE’s refusal to lift the water blockade and thus alleviate the suffering of farmers. The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) members refrained from visiting the scene of the air attack in Karadiyanaru on the grounds that they had nosecurity guarantees either from the Government or the LTTE.
On Friday, the head of the SLMM, retired Swedish Major General Ulf Henricsson held talks with Trincomalee LTTE Political Wing leader S. Elilan in a bid to lift the water blockade. Elilan said at that time an Air Force bomb had fallen some 750 metres away from the area where talks were held. But SLMM spokesman Thofinner Omarsson declined to confirm the incident saying he was not present.
Troops were advancing towards the Mavil Aru anicut as Air Force bombers pounded the vicinity. Additional Government Agent for Mutur Division, Mohamed Niyas said fighting was still going on. Hence Irrigation engineers were waiting to be escorted by the Seruwila Police to the scene. The anicut was closed on July 20.
Government defence spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told The Sunday Times that until last evening they could not get the sluice gates at Mavil Aru opened. “We can discuss other issues later. The immediate need is to open the sluice gates,” he said. He rejected any conditions placed by the LTTE and said water is not an issue that could entail any demands. He denied the Air Force had bombed a location close to where Mr. Henricsson was holding talks with Mr. Elilan. -Sunday Times
Sri Lanka’s candidate for the powerful post of United Nations Secretary General vowed yesterday he would continue his campaign despite reportedly poor showing in the so-called straw poll conducted among Security Council members last week.
Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, former UN Undersecretary General in charge of disarmament, told the Sunday Times that he considered the straw poll as only a preliminary indication process and not a sign of any definitive trend.According to reports from New York, Dr. Dhanapala was placed fourth in the so-called straw poll on Monday after South Korea’s Ban Ki-Moon, India’s Shashi Tharoor and Thailand’s Surakiart Sathirathai.
Dr. Dhanapala who only got five votes of encouragement in the straw polls said the race and the process were continuing and he with the support of his country would intensify the campaign. Diplomatic sources in New York were making an educated guess on how the 15 countries in the Security Council could have voted in the straw poll for Sri Lanka’s candidate.
They said the five encouragements for Dr. Dhanapala were from China, Congo, Ghana, Qatar and Tanzania while those who gave a vote of discouragement were Argentina, Denmark, France, Greece, Slovakia and the UK – with Japan, Peru, Russia and US remaining neutral.
Argentina has for long not voted with Sri Lanka, especially after Sri Lanka’s vote with Britain over the Falklands invasion in the 1980s when the entire Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) bloc voted with Argentina.
Peru had thought to play safe, while Russia appears to have adopted a wait-and-see approach. Japan and the US have opted to stay clear for the time-being, according to these sources.
Under UN Charter rules, the secretary-general is elected by the 192-member General Assembly under recommendation from the Security Council, with the five permanent members – the US, China, France, Britain and Russia – having veto powers on the issue.
Diplomatic sources said the council hoped to have the appointment wrapped up by October.