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Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Be resolute and calm in face of provocation - President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has unequivocally condemned the LTTE's savage attacks on a civilian bus at Buttala and a village Okkampitiya, has called on the people of Sri Lanka to be vigilant in the face of provocation by terrorists, remain calm, and assist the security forces in their efforts to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka.

The President states: This further act of savagery on the part of the LTTE should attract to it the opprobrium of all in Sri Lanka and abroad concerned about safeguarding democracy and achieving peace in Sri Lanka. This is a brazen demonstration to the whole world of its unchanged commitment to terrorism and the absolute rejection of democracy and all norms of civilized behaviour, in the pursuit of its unacceptable goal of separation, which threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

Text of the President's statement:

I unequivocally and severely condemn the explosion carried out by the LTTE at Niyadella in Buttala today, and the subsequent armed attack on the village of Dambeyaya at Okkampitiya, targeting innocent civilians including women and children, and reject with contempt the renewed message of terror and violence sent by the LTTE through these acts of unmitigated brutality.

LTTE terrorists attack civilians, killing 26 and injuring over 60

LTTE terrorists ambushed a bus carrying about 80 innocent civilians at Helagama on the Buttala- Monaragala road around 7.40a.m. (January 16). The bus that was carrying large number of schoolchildren, office workers and poor peasants was first attacked with a powerful claymore blast and then fired up on by the terrorists.

One survivor told that the terrorists remorselessly shot at the people who were jumping out of the bus following the blast. Many women survived the bomb blast became easy targets of the terror gunmen, he added.

According to the sources in the area , over 60 people were initially taken to Buttla hospital following the attack. 23 people among them were already dead and except six, others were transferred to Monaragala hospital. Among the six remaining at the Buttla hospital, there are two children at the ages of 2 years and one month. According to the hospital sources, the mother of the two children was killed in the attack. There are 13 females and 10 males among the dead at the hospital, sources added.

According to the sources in Monaragala hospital 44 people were initially admitted. Two of them succumbed to the injuries while five were airlifted to National hospital Colombo. There are two schoolchildren and two infants at the ages 3 and 4 years among the wounded, the sources added.

Dr. Hector Weerasighe, the director of the National Hospital told that one of the five victims airlifted to Colombo succumbed to the injuries. Other four including a 14-year-old schoolchild are presently being treated at the intensive care unit, he added.

LTTE is a ruthless terrorist outfit that has been fighting for mono ethnic separate homeland for Tamils since 1983. The outfit led by its psychopathic leader V. Prbhakaran is notorious for crimes against women and children. During its three decades of terror campaign against Sri Lankan citizens the outfit has killed and maimed over tens and thousands innocent children in ethnic cleansing raids, indiscriminate bomb attacks and by using child soldiers at the battlefronts. The FBI in its recent report called LTTE as the deadliest terrorist outfit in the world. According to the report, "it's not al Qaeda or Hezbollah or even HAMAS" but the group is called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or the Tamil Tigers for short is the deadliest and most dangerous terrorists outfit in the world.

However, many defence observers in Sri Lanka say that LTTE has built its "deadly" image through henoius crimes against soft targets as women, children and unsuspecting civilians. During the last two year alone, when the CFA was still in operation, LTTE killed more than 4000 people.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Dances with Tigers - The Island Editorial

This country is perennially under pressure to respect the rule of law. The international community never misses an opportunity to remind Sri Lankan governments of this democratic obligation on their part. Whenever a breach of law occurs here, alarms go off in London, New York and Paris. The government gets inundated with warnings. This kind of reaction from the democratic world may be anathema to those at the levers of power here but it is, no doubt, salutary. Governments, as ex-President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga declared the other day, cannot act like terrorists. How true! Nor should governments, she should have added, give in to or sleep with terrorists!

How do the countries which rightly bring pressure to bear on this country to uphold the rule of law conduct themselves? A recent confession by an LTTE cadre has revealed that Britain, which is in the forefront of a campaign to protect democracy here, does not respect her anti-terror laws. He has said he underwent training in Northern Ireland as a member of the 'Eelam police' immediately after the CFA came into being.

Kalimuttu Vinodkumar (29), who was arrested in Trincomalee recently, has admitted that he was among 12 LTTE cadres trained in Northern Ireland for three months, as our main news item said yesterday. He was later posted in Sampur as the head of the LTTE 'police' station there.

That the British government turns a blind eye to the activities of the LTTE, which is proscribed in the UK, is only too well known. The outfit is permitted to hold rallies and raise funds on the British soil to finance a war to dismember a Commonwealth member state. Some of the British lawmakers are being openly supportive of it for reasons best known to themselves. But, the confession in question is proof that the British government has gone beyond mere connivance. It serves as damning evidence that the British government has been involved in training a proscribed terrorist organisation. Britain, being a world power may afford to have a callous disregard for little Lanka's sovereignty but it must at least respect its own laws, mustn't it?

The knee-jerk reaction of the British authorities may be to claim that they only complied with a request by the then UNF government which, Vinodkumar has said, facilitated the Norwegian-sponsored training programme. But, the fact remains that in obliging the then government of Sri Lanka and the Norwegians, the Labour government committed a willful violation of the British law. On the other hand, if it is the policy of the British government to acquiesce in anything that a Sri Lanka government proposes, then, for argument's sake, would it arrange for a similar training programme for the Karuna Group, should the present government make a request to that effect?

The CFA certainly served a useful purpose at the initial stages, however flawed it may be. It helped minimise killings. But, the subservience of the UNF government enabled the LTTE to abuse the truce to the hilt, ably assisted by the Norwegians, to train its cadres abroad and smuggle in war related material besides gaining a great deal of legitimacy for its cause.

A logical conclusion from the UNF government's complicity in the training of the LTTE 'police' in Britain is that it recognised that illegal police force and helped it gain international recognition. A government negotiating with the LTTE or trying to bring it to the negotiating table cannot be faulted for being somewhat lenient in handling it but a commitment to any course of action, from which recognition accrues to the so-called parallel administration the outfit claims to run, amounts to treason.

Had the LTTE been allowed to perpetuate its illegal rule in those parts of the country in the name of the now moribund CFA, the outfit would have certainly used its 'police' presence to bolster its claim of running a separate state. Remember a few years ago a World Bank chief in Colombo got into the soup over a statement that the LTTE was running a de facto state in some areas. The British Navy, it may be recalled, even entertained an LTTE area leader on one of its warships off the Eastern coast in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster under the Kumaratunga regime that carried forward the UNF's appeasement policy.

How does Britain react when its terrorists are trained abroad? It has been instrumental in dislodging two regimes and bombing two sovereign nations-Afghanistan and Iraq-into the Stone Age to protect its national security interests and in retaliation for sponsoring its terrorists. Prime Minister John Major, as we have pointed out earlier, once, boycotted telephone calls from the White House for one week in protest against permission granted to Sinn Fein leader Jerry Adams to enter the US to attend an IRA fund raiser.

A thorough investigation into Vindokumar's confession is called for as it is likely to shed more light on the British-LTTE relations.

Sri Lankan government obviously cannot sway the British policy towards terrorism but at least it can expose Britain's nudity in its small way.

Troops avert LTTE attempt to hinder flow of essential commodities along A-9

Troops uncovered 133 anti personnel (AP) mines from Kuduruvittakulama general area, in Vavuniya District yesterday (August 27), while conducting extended search operations, said area military officials.

A claymore mine was also discovered during a search operation and according to military officials its discovery averted an LTTE plot to cause mayhem in the Vavunia district, where the government together with the security forces has taken steps to facilitate the flow of essential commodities to the non liberated areas along the A-9 trunk road.

Last week the Ministry of Defence announced that the Omanthai roadblock will be opened for five week days from Monday (27) as the ICRC had also agreed to provide its assistance to security forces.

Artificial limbs for disabled soldiers

The tenth anniversary of the distribution of artificial limbs to disabled soldiers take place today (Poya Day) at the YMBA Dehiwela. This project, a brainchild of Mr. Ajith Jayasinghe, an active member of the Board of Directors of the Dehiwela YMBA was commenced by him in the year 1997 by donating just one artificial limb.

Mr. Jayasinghe was assisted and encouraged to continue this project by the President V. P. Vipulaguna and General Secretary Mahendra Senanayake.. Today 23 artificial limbs will be donated

During the last ten years 400 artificial limbs and wheel chairs have been the Dehiwela YMBA.

Friday, 24 August 2007

2 Vadamaraadchi fishermen feared killed by SLN

Two fishermen who went fishing on Vaththiraayan Sea in Vadamaraadchi east Monday early morning have not returned home until Wednesday 3:00 p.m. The fishermen are feared to have been shot dead by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), according to complaints made by family members to Federation of Vadamaraadchi Fisheries Cooperative Societies, the General Manger, T. Balasingham said. The efforts of fellow fishermen and society members to retrieve the bodies of the missing fishermen made Wednesday morning were unsuccessful, he added.

Sebestian Sristan Lenat, 39, one of the missing fishermen, is a father of 2 children from Naakarkoayil, and the other fisherman is identified as S. Rajkumar, 35, a father of 3 children and a resident of Valveddiththu'rai.

Artillery attacks by SLA on Vadamaraadchi east in the past have forced hundreds of families to flee from their coastal villages, and to seek safer areas in Vanni.

A few fishermen families, however, continue to remain in the villages of Maruthangkea'ni, Vaththiraayan, Uduththu'rai to earn a living, fishing in Vadamaraadchi east seas.

The search for the missing fishermen has been discontinued due to the continued artillery firing by the SLA, Balasingham said.

2 STF troopers injured in Kangchikudichchaa'ru mine explosion

Two troops of the Sri Lanka Task Force (STF) unit infiltrating into Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) held territory in Kangchikudichchaa'ru area in Ampaa'rai district Wednesday evening, were seriously injured when a pressure mine exploded and were admitted to the Ampaa'rai District Hospital, Ampaa'rai police said.

The injured troopers were identified as M. I. P. Rosantha, 36 and Wickremaraichi, 32.

Rosantha's leg has been amputated, hospital sources said.

Sri Lanka Armed Forces are continuing their offensive into LTTE held areas in Ampaa'rai district.