Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August 20th, 2008

Sri Lanka is on the verge of a major victory against Tamil separatists, officials say, in a high-risk military strategy to dismantle a de facto rebel state.

President Mahinda Rajapakse announced that security forces will pursue a major offensive in the north of the island and capture Kilinochchi, the political capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“The government would continue with the anti-terror drive until the north too is liberated, just as the east,” the Daily News quoted the president as saying Tuesday night.

Rajapakse said he wanted to replicate the success of driving the LTTE out of the multi-ethnic Eastern Province in July last year by taking the bigger northern region, where the Tigers run their own affairs.

He did not suggest a date but the prime minister said such success could be imminent.

“Our boys might even take Kilinochchi by August 23,” Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told a political rally on Monday.

“We are very close. Kilinochchi is not very far from our sight,” he said.

The Tigers seized Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres (205 miles) north of capital Colombo in November 1999 following a counter attack that saw security forces lose vast tracts of land they had captured during 19 months of fighting.

“Unlike in the past, the army is now moving in smaller groups,” said retired army brigadier general Vipul Boteju. “That is why they are more successful this time round.”

However, defence analysts who decline to be named noted that the current offensive was fraught with risks and the government could pay dearly.

“The government has given the impression that Kilinochchi will fall and the Tigers will be defeated soon,” an Asian diplomat said. “It is important to manage the expectations or the strategy could backfire.”

The victory fever comes with two provincial council elections due on Saturday. Officials say more local elections are likely later this year or early in 2009.

There has been no direct comment from the LTTE about the latest military claims, but the rebels on Tuesday tacitly admitted they were losing ground.

In their first public acknowledgement that government forces are making inroads, the Tigers said civilians had been forced to leave their homes because of the army’s advance.

The LTTE, which has been fighting for a separate ethnic state since 1972, accused the military of shelling civilian settlements.

“Many of the internally displaced people are yet to receive temporary shelter and are thus still living under trees,” the LTTE said.

The government denied the claims and said the authorities were providing food and shelter to displaced civilians.

More than 112,000 people have been displaced in the past two months amid heavy fighting, aid agencies said last week.

Security forces have reported heavy daily death tolls among the enemy in the north since fighting intensified after the government scrapped a truce in January.

Security forces killed at least 25 guerrillas Tuesday for the loss of three soldiers, the defence ministry said.

The figures raised to 5,985 the number of rebels the government claims it has killed since January.

The ministry, which blocks media access to the front lines and rebel areas, has acknowledged losing 556 soldiers in the same period.

(AFP)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Sri Lanka is on the verge of a major victory against Tamil separatists, officials say, in a high-risk military strategy to dismantle a de facto rebel state.

President Mahinda Rajapakse announced that security forces will pursue a major offensive in the north of the island and capture Kilinochchi, the political capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“The government would continue with the anti-terror drive until the north too is liberated, just as the east,” the Daily News quoted the president as saying Tuesday night.

Rajapakse said he wanted to replicate the success of driving the LTTE out of the multi-ethnic Eastern Province in July last year by taking the bigger northern region, where the Tigers run their own affairs.

He did not suggest a date but the prime minister said such success could be imminent.

“Our boys might even take Kilinochchi by August 23,” Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told a political rally on Monday.

“We are very close. Kilinochchi is not very far from our sight,” he said.

The Tigers seized Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres (205 miles) north of capital Colombo in November 1999 following a counter attack that saw security forces lose vast tracts of land they had captured during 19 months of fighting.

“Unlike in the past, the army is now moving in smaller groups,” said retired army brigadier general Vipul Boteju. “That is why they are more successful this time round.”

However, defence analysts who decline to be named noted that the current offensive was fraught with risks and the government could pay dearly.

“The government has given the impression that Kilinochchi will fall and the Tigers will be defeated soon,” an Asian diplomat said. “It is important to manage the expectations or the strategy could backfire.”

The victory fever comes with two provincial council elections due on Saturday. Officials say more local elections are likely later this year or early in 2009.

There has been no direct comment from the LTTE about the latest military claims, but the rebels on Tuesday tacitly admitted they were losing ground.

In their first public acknowledgement that government forces are making inroads, the Tigers said civilians had been forced to leave their homes because of the army’s advance.

The LTTE, which has been fighting for a separate ethnic state since 1972, accused the military of shelling civilian settlements.

“Many of the internally displaced people are yet to receive temporary shelter and are thus still living under trees,” the LTTE said.

The government denied the claims and said the authorities were providing food and shelter to displaced civilians.

More than 112,000 people have been displaced in the past two months amid heavy fighting, aid agencies said last week.

Security forces have reported heavy daily death tolls among the enemy in the north since fighting intensified after the government scrapped a truce in January.

Security forces killed at least 25 guerrillas Tuesday for the loss of three soldiers, the defence ministry said.

The figures raised to 5,985 the number of rebels the government claims it has killed since January.

The ministry, which blocks media access to the front lines and rebel areas, has acknowledged losing 556 soldiers in the same period.

(AFP)

Read Full Post »

Sri Lanka’s president has pledged to push ahead with a military onslaught against Tamil Tigers and dismantle the rebels’ de facto separate state, a state-run daily reported Wednesday.

President Mahinda Rajapakse vowed that security forces would pursue their current offensive in the island’s north and capture Kilinochchi, the political capital of the Tamil separatists.

“The government would continue with the anti-terror drive until the north too is liberated just as the east,” The Daily News quoted the president as saying on Tuesday night.

Rajapakse wanted to replicate the success of driving the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) out of the multi-ethnic eastern province in July last year by taking control of the vast northern region.

The Tigers have held Kilinochchi since 1999 and have their own civil administration in the region.

Security forces have reported heavy daily death tolls among the enemy in the north since fighting intensified after the government scrapped a truce last January.

There has been no direct comment from the LTTE about the latest military push into territory held by them, but the rebels on Tuesday tacitly admitted they were losing ground.

In their first public acknowledgement that government forces were pushing forward, the Tigers said civilians had been forced to move back several times because of the attack.

The LTTE, which has been fighting for a separate ethnic state since 1972, accused the military of shelling civilian settlements.

“Many of the internally displaced people, who are yet to receive temporary shelter and are thus still living under trees, are struggling to seek shelter from the rain,” the LTTE said.

The Sri Lankan government denied the rebel claims and said the authorities were providing food and shelter to displaced civilians living in areas still under rebel control.

More than 112,000 people have been displaced in the past two months amid heavy fighting, aid agencies said last week.

(AFP)

Read Full Post »

A large contingent of Commandos from the Police Special Task Force (STF) completed their training and passedout from the Kalutara STF Training School on Monday. This was the second batch to passout this year (a batch passed out in February prior to this).

The Special Task Force is the Sri Lanka Police Department’s Paramilitary Wing and has a rank and file similar to the Sri Lanka Army. The unit is deployed primarily in the Eastern Province and specializes in Counterinsurgency Operations. The STF also plays a major role in defending Colombo and other major cities in the south.

A decision was made to start recruiting STF personnel after a long layoff in enlistment and training some years ago and since then, the unit has enjoyed a high rate of enlistment particularly in the recent past along with the three branches of mainstream Military.

The main criticism against the STF has been its recent inability to destroy a group of around 150 LTTE cadres hiding in jungles from Peraru to Yala. The task, however is herculean considering the LTTE’s practice of hide and seek as opposed to face-to-face combat. A Special Forces unit is also deployed in the south to counter this threat in case of an emergency.

Earlier this year, several STF camps in the East (including Thirukkovil and Arantalawa) were vacated and relocated to Mannar and Weli Oya and new Army Brigades were established at Vakarai, Thoppigala, Sithandi and Morawewa (in addition to the Morawewa SLAF base) to rectify the situation. This move, however, diverted four new Brigades of the Army from operational duties from the North, where they were originally intended for deployment.

Recently, the Defence Ministry, the SLA and the STF have come to an agreement to rectify the situation by gradually increasing the cadre of the STF. Already, Batticaloa Town is under STF oversight. It is hoped that the new recruits who passedout on Monday would become part of the country’s defenses against terrorists.

(Defence Wire)

Read Full Post »

Police officials in eastern Sri Lanka have expressed concern over a government-affiliated militant group opening a camp in Tambalagamuwa.An armed group claiming itself to be from Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) has taken over a deserted building in Thambalagamuwa on Sunday August 17.

Journalist R.G. Dharmadasa who visited the area on Monday says he noticed that the group has written TMVP in Tamil and in English on the front walls.

A group armed with T56 automatic rifle and bullets was protecting the premises.

Local police officers expressed serious concern over the establishment of the camp as normalcy gradually returns to the area.

Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) is the deputy leader of the TMVP.

The TMVP is led by the breakaway LTTE leader Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan also known as Karuna Amman.

Maran, who introduced himself as the leader of the group, told the journalist that they decided to camp in the area to prevent increasing abductions reported in the area.

The TMVP Trincomalee district leader told BBC Sandeshaya that the camp is a political office of the TMVP.

However, police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said he was not aware of any TMVP camp in Tambalagamuwa.

(BBC)

Read Full Post »

Police officials in eastern Sri Lanka have expressed concern over a government-affiliated militant group opening a camp in Tambalagamuwa.An armed group claiming itself to be from Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) has taken over a deserted building in Thambalagamuwa on Sunday August 17.

Journalist R.G. Dharmadasa who visited the area on Monday says he noticed that the group has written TMVP in Tamil and in English on the front walls.

A group armed with T56 automatic rifle and bullets was protecting the premises.

Local police officers expressed serious concern over the establishment of the camp as normalcy gradually returns to the area.

Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) is the deputy leader of the TMVP.

The TMVP is led by the breakaway LTTE leader Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan also known as Karuna Amman.

Maran, who introduced himself as the leader of the group, told the journalist that they decided to camp in the area to prevent increasing abductions reported in the area.

The TMVP Trincomalee district leader told BBC Sandeshaya that the camp is a political office of the TMVP.

However, police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said he was not aware of any TMVP camp in Tambalagamuwa.

(BBC)

Read Full Post »

Advertisements