Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tigers reject safe zone for civilians to deter artillery and jets Ground operation against LTTE now nearing climax

(TI)With the army entering Visvamadu town east of A9 road yesterday morning, the largest ever ground offensive directed against the LTTE is rapidly reaching its zenith.

The army said that fighting was continuing in the area with 58 Division troops gradually evicting the enemy from their strong points. A senior official said that multi-pronged offensive involving armour and artillery was now threatening to overwhelm LTTE units holding a section of the Paranthan-Mullaitivu A 35, the only major road not fully under army control. Full Text

Congress sees no ultimatum on Sri Lanka

Special Correspondent

(TH)NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday refused to see the “final appeal” made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to the Centre to make an immediate intervention to ensure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka as an ultimatum.

Responding to questions on the resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly seeking India’s intervention in ensuring a ceasefire in the island nation, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said Mr. Karunanidhi’s statement was not couched in terms of an ultimatum. Full Text

Thondaman promises UPFA unconditional support

(TI)KANDY - The CWC will give its unconditional support to the UPFA to regain power of the Central Provincial Council at the Provincial Council election, CWC leader Youth Improvement and Social Welfare Minister Arumugam Thondaman told a media conference in Kandy.

The plantation sector communities of the Central Province are contented with the services and facilities provided to their upliftment by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government, Thondaman said at Mahaweli Reach Hotel on Thursday. Full Text

Tamils protest Sri Lankan turmoil

(boston.com)WASHINGTON - Roughly 200 protesters from the ethnic Tamil minority held signs outside the Indian embassy and the US State Department yesterday to call attention to the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka, where tens of thousands of children are in danger of being hurt or killed in fighting between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil rebels.

"The government is now comfortable that they can wipe out the Tamils," said Siva Sivalogan, an engineering consultant from Dedham, Mass., who traveled to Washington, D.C., yesterday with more than a dozen other Tamils from the Boston area. "Nobody from the outside is complaining much, so they feel they can do what they want. They don't give any room for even moderate dissent." Full Text

Prabhakaran will be arrested if he goes to India: Karuna

(TH)Colombo (PTI): Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran will be arrested if he escapes to India owing to tight security in the neighbouring country, the LTTE breakaway faction leader Karuna Amman has said.

At this juncture, however, it is very difficult for Prabhakaran to flee to any country, Karuna, who was sworn in as an MP in October last year, told reporters responding to a query about reports that the LTTE chief may have escaped to Malaysia. Full Text

Elephant in the Tigers' tale

Decisive charge: Sri Lankan soldiers in action in Killinochi/PHOTO: AP
DIPLOMACY
India is staying clear of Sri Lanka, but will be political catalyst post the conflict
By Kallol Bhattacherjee
Velupillai Prabhakaran was no mouse in October 1988. The chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was a shrewd strategist challenging the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) sent by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to contain militancy in Sri Lanka. The IPKF captured the land routes of the Tigers. Then they took Wanni, Jaffna and Kilinochchi. At Nitikaikulam, they cornered Prabhakaran. Sensing his end was near, he turned tail and escaped through a 7km tunnel into a forest near Mullaiteevu. Full Text

US lawyer wants Lankan leaders tried for genocide

(TI)CHENNAI: Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa could go down in history as the first United States citizen to be tried for genocide, if Bruce Fein , a former US deputy associate attorney general has his way.

Fein, who is also a counsel for the Tamils Against Genocide group, told a gathering in the city on Friday that he would move the US justice and state departments next week invoking Section 1091 of the Federal Criminal Code of Genocide statute against Gotabhaya, who is a US citizen and Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lankan chief of armed forces, a US green card holder. Full Text

Tamil Tigers' leader Vellupillai Prabakharan vanishes in army assault on last stronghold

(TO)It was 8.35pm on Wednesday when a Sri Lankan navy ship spotted what looked like the lights of a small aircraft flying at high altitude over Mullaitivu – the last outpost of the Tamil Tigers.

When the air force reported the same thing there was a buzz of excitement at military HQ. Commanders knew that after 25 years of conflict Vellupillai Prabakharan, the Tigers’ leader, was facing defeat, with government forces closing in on all sides. Full Text

LTTE creates 'humanitarian catastrophe': blasts off Kalmadukulam Tank bund - Mullaittivu

(defence.lk)LTTE terrorists have blasted off the Kalmadukulam Tank bund this morning (Jan 24) in a desperate attempt to stall the multi-frontal military surge towards Visuamadu area, latest reports from the Mullaittivu battlefront said. "This is totally an inhuman act with least respect to the lives of innocent Tamil civilians entrapped in the area", a defence official said while urging worldwide condemnation for the terrorist act.

Terrorists have used high explosives and triggered the detonation flooding a section of the A-35 Pranthan - Pooneryn main road, Ramanatpuram, Dharmapuram and Visuamadu. LTTE terrorists had resorted to this cheap tactic after suffering heavy beating by the security forces during intense fighting that erupted since Friday (23), Northeast of Kalmadu and Nethiliaru, security sources said. Terrorist resistances were beaten comprehensively in the ground battles, which left its fighting formations in total disarray, security sources said. Full Text

LTTE receives heavy beating at Kalmadu: retreat with heavy damages- Mullaittivu

(defence.lk)Fierce fighting was reported between troops and LTTE terrorists in general areas, Northeast of Kalmadu and Nethiliaru, South of the A-35 Paranthan-Pooneryn main road since yesterday (Jan 23), which left scores of terrorists killed and many injured, Wanni security sources said.

Fighting broke out with terrorists when 58 Division infantry and armour battalions forced into remaining LTTE defences at the battle frontier, security sources said. Terrorists suffered heavy damages as the military onslaught rattled tightly fortified LTTE defences causing terrorists to flee, the sources added.

Army Task Force 4 captures two terror camps - Puthukkudiyiruppu

(defence.lk)Sri Lanka Army Task Force 4 operating in the Puthukkudiyiruppu south yesterday (Jan 23) captured two LTTE camps located in the area.

According to the battlefield reports, troops initially captured a camp with 700m x 500m area and 8 buildings. Troops suspect that the camp was a hideout of a senior LTTE cadre as it was provided with luxury lodging and sanitary facilities.

Troops captured the second camp in a separate location after beating off the terrorists in a confrontation. The camp comprised of 4 buildings , 2 improvised containers , 1 water pump , and few petrol and kerosene barrels.

TULF leader tells Karunanidhi, "Not to be duped by the TNA"

(By: Walter Jayawardhana)

(defence.lk)Reminding TN Chief Minister Karunanidhi that the ball now is in his court to understand the truth, Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader V. Anandasangaree invited the DMK leader to come to Sri Lanka and see for himself, without being duped by the Tamil National Alliance members.

In a letter addressed to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister the TULF leader said, "The time has now come for you to take over the full responsibility on your head and to visit Sri Lanka, accepting the invitation extended to you, by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa the President. Seeing is believing." Full Text

Mixed signals of horror from Wanni

- LTTE may engineer an ultimate bloodbath of civilians and will the Rev Father Pathinathar dare confront the LTTE and lead a march of the 491,000 people, the number he claims, out of this highly endangered zone where the final battle will be fought, to the freedom that awaits them?
_____________

By Ranjit Surendran and Roshanti Arasakularatne

(January 23, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is a fact that the LTTE-held area has shrunk to a part of the Mullaitivu District and continuing to shrivel at a rapid rate. Fears are now emerging that the Tigers may resort to a last desperate attempt and cause a bloodbath of 300,000 people of Wanni they are currently holding hostage. They are the only hope they have to bring about a halt of the army from mopping up what is left of the LTTE-held area. Full Text

"Truth" was the causality in the Navy’s recent encounter with Sea Tigers off the coast of Mullaitivu

By Ruwan Weerakoon in Colombo

Colombo, 24 January, (Asiantribune.com): In the recent encounter with the Sea Tigers off the coast of Mullaitivu, it is now alleged that the biggest causality was the "Truth", and Sri Lanka Navy failed to disclose the true scenario of that tragic episode.

Sri Lanka Navy in that sea battle with Sea Tigers on Tuesday 20th January, the Navy has in fact lost 19 sailors on that day. Full Text

Constitutional Ministry seeks Federal Solutions?

By Gomin Dayasri

(AT)The Select Committee report under the chairmanship of Vijitha Herath traced the origins of the relationship between the Burghof Foundation (BF) and the Ministry of Constitutional affairs which resulted in two agreements of 2001 and 2006 which was the central issue examined by the parliamentarians at a Select Committee.

The first Agreement of 2001 was during the period of Chandrika Kumaranatunga where G.L.Pieris was the Minister and the second Agreement was in 2006 under the Mahinda Rajapakse regime with D.E.W. Gunasekera, as the Minister. The Select Committee with heavy government representation has had the courage to be more critical of the 2006 Agreement which took place during the lifetime of the present government with D.E.W. Gunasekera as the Minister. Full Text

"Our soldiers do not know how to fight"!

(TI)‘The Island’ editorial of January 16 said, "some of the media personnel and their NGO handlers chose to act as the LTTE’s auxiliaries in the South, discrediting as they did the military and the country. Worse, they did everything possible to break the nation’s will to battle terrorism by drilling into people’s heads a myth that the LTTE was far superior to the armed forces and therefore invincible." Full Text

Will Eelam end in Gitmo?

(TI)Barack Hussein Obama who has already made history by being he first black American to be President of the USA, has possibly made another record by being the first US President to take his oath of office twice, and within 24 hours too. The reason for this was the fumbling by the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court in administering the oath at Obama’s inauguration, which was another peace of history. Which also shows how even the highest of judges are quite liable to err or slip up. Full Text

Bloody Prabha seeks to flee wrath of Tamil people

(DN)“We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.” 44th US President Barack Obama in his Inaugural Address - January 20, 2009.

It was not long ago that apologists for the LTTE, in what was falsely labelled as a peace lobby, which included persons now revealed as earning millions from abroad for everything from ‘conflict resolution’ to ‘media freedom’ - the handmaidens of Velupillai Prabhakaran - and any related subject, were bashing Sri Lanka with charges that we were rushing ahead to be a failed state. These were highly exaggerated allegations about the humanitarian situation in the country, especially in the North, and the military operations were deplored, despised and scoffed at with the LTTE being held as an invincible fighting force. Full Text

Tiger cadre among four deported

(DN)Police arrested an LTTE cadre who was deported from Malaysia for overstaying at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) yesterday.

Police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekera said Katunayake police arrested four suspects on information from a civilian of four suspicious persons at the High Security Zone in the BIA around 12.15 pm. Full Text

Counter-wheeling of Tamil Nadu opinion on Lankan Tamil issue

(DM)The happenings involving Tamils in Sri Lanka have always been having a bearing on the politics in Tamil Nadu since early eighties of the last century. The incidents that took place in the Northern and Eastern parts of the island; especially those related to the ethnic strife have so influenced the Tamil Nadu society that it has even toppled governments in the state not once, but twice. Also the Sri Lankan Tamil issue has been a major trump card for the politicians in the state. The stir that was in the state during the past weeks by the politicians, especially by the pro-LTTE outfits was apparently nothing more than stunts targeting the Lok Sabha election that is to be held early this year. Full Text

88 injured civilians brought to Vavuniya

By Romesh Dhanushka and

Thilini de Silva

(DM)Eighty eight civilians injured in the LTTE’s artillery shelling in Mullaitivu were brought to the Vavuniya hospital for treatment, source said.

Hospital sources said a large number of civilians injured were seeking treatment at the hospitals in Mullaitivu and Pudukudiyiruppu, and 88 of them were taken to Vavuniya for further medication. Full Text

Troops do not fire at ‘safe zone’: Rambukwella

By Sumaiya Rizvi

(DM)The security forces did not fire shells and artillery to a government declared ‘safe zone’ within the uncleared areas, Defence Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella said.

“Why would we create a ‘safe zone’ for civilians’ safety and fire shells in that zone?

It is ridiculous to even suggest so,” Rambukwella said. According to him there has been no incident of a large number of civilians being killed by shell firing within the ‘safe zone’. Full Text

Negotiations to release UN staff continues with LTTE

By Sumaiya Rizvi

(DM)High ranking officials of the United Nations are still negotiating with LTTE representatives to ensure safe passage for 92 UN national staff and their family members, UN Acting Spokesperson James Elder said.

“The overall head of security for the UN is vigorously negotiating for a safe passage with the LTTE representatives,” Elder said. Full Text

Motivated by LTTE air attacks India buys radars

(DM)India is buying two more Israeli EL/M-2083 Aerostat radars. Both India and Pakistan are using radar aerostats (blimps) to fill in the many gaps in the radar coverage of their mutual border. India already has two EL/M-2083s. The United States is providingaerostats to Pakistan. India bought its first EL/M-2083s three years ago, and is planning to deploy a total of six. India needs a total of 13 to cover all its borders. Pakistan is getting six L-88 Aerostat Systems. Full Text

Nation indebted to parents of war heroes: GL

(DM)Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris stated that the whole nation is indebted to the parents and the families that offered their children, their most precious possession, to protect the motherland and those families should be honoured and felicitated by all, irrespective of one’s political leanings and party affiliations. He further stated that the world-wide belief that terrorism cannot be defeated by military means has been proven a myth by the Sri Lankan war heroes.

He was speaking at a ceremony to felicitate the families of the war heroes organized by the North-Western Province Combined War Heroes Association. This province has the highest representation in the Three-Forces and the Police. Full Text

Prabha still in Wanni: Karuna

UNCEF calls upon LTTE to release civilians

By Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera

(DM)Former LTTE Eastern commander Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman who is now a Parliamentarian yesterday said he believed that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran should still be in the Wanni since it was ‘quite impossible’ for him to flee the country under the present circumstances.

Mr. Muralitharan told a news conference at the parliament complex that India would never welcome Prabhakaran, and therefore the only option available for him is a South-East Asian country like Malaysia or Indonesia. However, he said the authorities concerned had stepped up vigilance on the sea routes across these countries because of LTTE’s arms smuggling activities. Full Text

Human Rights Watch writes to President

Detention of journalist J.S. Tissainayagam

(DM)Human Rights Watch, has in an open letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, urged the government to drop all charges and unconditionally release journalist J.S. Tissainayagam and publisher V. Jasiharan and his wife V. Valamathy, who have been in detention since March 2008.

J.S. Tissainayagam, a columnist with the Sunday Times newspaper and editor of the Outreach website, was arrested by the police Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) on March 7, 2008. The previous day the TID had arrested V. Jasiharan, the owner of E-Kwality press, and his wife V. Valamathy. Tissainayagam and Jasiharan are co-directors of the company Outreach Multimedia. On August 25, Tissainayagam was charged under the Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act for editing, printing and publishing the North Eastern monthly magazine, of which he was previously an editor, and for aiding and abetting terrorist organisations through raising money for the magazine. Full Text

Special probe on Friday’s attack

(DM)The government said yesterday it was shocked at the latest attack on the media and President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered a full scale investigation.

“As a government we are very much concerned about the attack on Mr. Tennakoon and we will do our level best and use every resource available to find the group behind this attack and other recent attacks on the media,” Media Minister Anura Priyadharsana Yapa told the Daily Mirror. Full Text

'The Sri Lankan army has damaged the LTTE's military invincibility'

(rediff)Colonel R Hariharan (retd), who served as the head of intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka 1987 to 1990, analyses the war on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in an interview to rediff.com's Shobha Warrier.

The question often asked was, after Killinocchi, what? How significant was the fall of Killinocchi?

Killinocchi has three dimensions. Two dimensions are directly relevant to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and one of these is relevant to the Sri Lankan government. Full Text

Yasushi Akashi called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Defeating terrorism a major triumph – Akashi

Image(news.lk)Government’s ability to completely liberate the East and strategically important locations in the North from the clutches of the LTTE is a major victory said the Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi when he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today (23).

The peace envoy commended the Government for the ongoing reconstruction and development activities in the East. Full Text

LTTE-sponsored Rally in Washington: Rallying the West to reverse territorial loss in Sri Lanka

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune – A Political Memo

Washington, DC. 23 January (Asiantribune.com): LTTE professionals, operatives, acolytes and sympathizers in the Western World especially in the United States have stepped up their psychological warfare against the Sri Lankan state to induce policy-makers in the West that Sri Lanka government’s current battle is nothing but a genocidal onslaught against the country’s Tamil minority in the guise of combating terrorism in holding a rally in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington on Friday, January 23. Full Text

Sri Lanka faces demons beyond the war

Matt Wade, Colombo

(theage)SRI Lanka's military spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, normally speaks in a deep, measured tone. But when asked to explain the army's progress in its war against the Tamil Tigers, his eyes light up and his voice quickens.

He reaches for his briefcase, pulls out an extendable pointer and turns to a map of Sri Lanka mounted in his office inside a Colombo high-security zone. Full Text

Prabhakaran may use LTTE aircraft to flee Lanka

(NDTV)The Sri Lankan government has taken steps to ensure that the top LTTE leadership, including its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, do not flee the country amidst fears that the Tamil Tigers could use their recently acquired aircraft to make their gateway.

"The four-seater planes with a normal range of over 1000 km could be tried as a getaway vehicles for LTTE's top leadership," officials said.

A defence ministry official, however, said after the capture of six LTTE airstrips, it would be difficult for any LTTE aircraft to take off from its runway in Mullaittivu as the guns of the security forces were trained on the area. Full Text

Sri Lanka's ex-Tigers say no more child soldiers soon

Source: Reuters
(alertnet)By Ranga Sirilal COLOMBO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - A breakaway Tamil Tiger rebel group now allied with the government will release the last 20 child soldiers it has in its ranks within two weeks, the group's leader said on Friday.

Under a deal struck with the U.N. children's agency UNICEF last year, the TMVP group led by ex-Tiger commander Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan had agreed to let go all child soldiers. On Friday, Muralitharan said the TMVP had freed 14 child soldiers and pledged to remove the rest quickly. They released 38 in April last year. Full Text

Why is fight against terrorism winning? Part 2 – Electing Correct Political Leadership

(lankarising)When western colonial masters left this country in 1948, they have gradually transferred political power in to the hands of hand picked local comprador agents. They were not natural born leaders, but spoon fed local Muppets with Western Anglican head. Not only political power, but control of media was with those elite families. Therefore, People only had a choice to pick one among them.

In 1977, another so called leader from the lumpent Anglican society, Junius Richerd Jayawardana stormed into power, that time with 2/3 rd of majority. When he left politics in 1989 after achieving his petty personal goals, both north and south was burning. Full Text

Indian gov't ally renews Sri Lanka resignation threat

By S. Murari

CHENNAI, India, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The ruling party of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu threatened on Friday to pull out of India's federal coalition unless New Delhi pushes for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.

"If giving up power will lead to the birth of Tamil Eelam, we shall only be too glad to do so," Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi said in the state capital Chennai, referring to a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka. Full Text

‘Tamil Tigers get weapons from Ukraine’

(russiatoday)A Ukrainian weapons baron has been selling arms to Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka, according to a former warlord with the terrorist organisation. Vinayakamurti Muralidharan also claims Ukrainian specialists were teaching the separatists in their battle for an independent homeland in North East Sri Lanka.

Muralidharan, also known as ‘Karuna’, is believed to be the former right-hand man of the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Velupillai Prabhakaran. Full Text

CID questions 'Lanka-e-News' editor for six hours based on a complaint lodged by Defence Secretary

(Lanka-e-News, January 23, 2009, 8.00 PM) A special wing of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) questioned 'Lanka-e-News' Chief editor Sandaruwan Senadheera for more than six hours today (23) based on a complaint lodged by the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse. The interrogation took place at the CID headquarters in Colombo Fort. Full Text

Winning the 'media war', the SLA Way

By Nilantha Ilangamuwa

(January 23, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I was reminded of this famous observation when I met Brig V Udaya B Nanayakkara, USP Hdmc, the Director of Media and spokesman of the Sri Lanka Army, at his office in the national capital of Colombo on Wednesday, 21 January 2009. It was a deep discussion on present situation in the 'ethnic war' with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), particularly on 'liberating' the tens of thousands of civilians being held as 'human shields' by the militant/terrorist outfit. His handling of the national and international media during the crucial phase of the ethnic war for much of the past two years has surprised many – yet welcome, all the same. Full Text

Security along the coast of Tamil Nadu intensified

Special Correspondent
Reports of possible infiltration by extremist elements

Emphasis on sharing of sea intelligence among security agencies

Security parameters of Chennai Port Trust reviewed


(TH)CHENNAI: Security has been intensified along the coast of Tamil Nadu amid reports of possible infiltration by extremist elements.

Director General of Police K.P. Jain said the entire police force was put on alert in view of the developments in Sri Lanka. “We are aware of what is happening in Sri Lanka and security has been stepped up accordingly,” he told The Hindu on Friday. Full Text

Friday, January 23, 2009

“Take steps to stop war in Sri Lanka today itself”

Special Correspondent
Tamil Nadu House appeals to Centre

(TH)CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Friday made a “final appeal” to the Centre, urging it to take steps to stop the war in Sri Lanka “today itself.”

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi who moved the resolution said the ceasefire should be followed by a political solution to the conflict and permanent peace in the land of the Buddha. Full Text

Special Envoy Yasushi Akashi says not to allow the LTTE to use civilians as a human shield

(defence.lk)Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Representative of the Government of Japan for Peace Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka, currently on an official visit to Sri Lanka, met with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Thursday at the Foreign Ministry.

Briefing the visiting envoy on the situation in Sri Lanka, Minister Bogollagama observed that the humanitarian operations were being conducted by the Sri Lankan government in northern Sri Lanka with the objective of eliminating LTTE terror and restoring democracy in order to achieve a sustainable peace. Minister Bogollagama referred to the process of democratization launched by the Sri Lanka government in the Eastern Province with the holding of elections. He noted that this has enabled the government to make democracy meaningful to the people in the Eastern Province. He highlighted the necessary to strengthen democratic Institutions as democracy, peace and development go hand in hand. Full Text

UNLIKELY FOR LTTE CHIEF TO FLEE TO SOUTHEAST ASIA

By P.Vijian
(yahoo)COLOMBO, Jan 23 (Bernama) -- It is highly unlikely that Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader V. Prabhakaran would have chosen to escape to any Southeast Asian capitals, including to Kuala Lumpur, says his former confidant.

Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran @ Karuna Amman, who once led LTTE's brutal military operations in the long drawn civil war against the Sri Lankan army, believes the group's chief was still in the island. Full Text

TNA Calls for Immediate Ceasefire and Talks

(January 22, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) wishes to bring to the urgent attention of the international community the current dire situation facing the Tamil civilian population in Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) administered areas. Currently there are over 360,000 IDPs out of a total population of nearly 500,000 people in LTTE controlled areas. This entire population is living within an area of about 400 square kilometers.

In addition to ordering all United Nations and other humanitarian NGOs out of LTTE administered areas since September 2008, the Sri Lankan State has also imposed stringent economic, medical and food embargoes resulting in the severe lack of basic items required by the civilians. Full Text

At last UN worries about Tamil children held by Tamil Tigers

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

(January 22, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, has said in a press release that she is worried about children who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and child combatants used by the LTTE.

Though late (press release was issued yesterday -- January 21, 2009), the Special Representative appealed to the LTTE to immediately release its child fighters. Tamil Tigers have been reported to the Security Council three times before for forcibly recruiting child soldiers. But they disregarded the rap on their knuckles with UN feathers. Full Text

After Killinochchi: Crouching Tigers Waiting To Pounce

by P.C.Vinoj Kumar

(TC)The dream of an independent homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka, or Eelam, still burns bright in Tamil Nadu, despite the fall of Kilinochchi, the de-facto capital of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) controlled territory in north Sri Lanka. In Tamil Nadu, a state where the LTTE continues to enjoy some political support despite it being a banned outfit in India, the LTTE's retreat from Kilinochchi is seen as a tactical move. On 2 January, 2009, Sri Lanka's hard-line President Mahinda Rajapakse announced the capture of Kilinochchi from the Tamil rebels, triggering celebrations in Colombo. Kilinochchi has come under government control after a gap of about 10 years. Full Text

Britain endorses war on LTTE while emphasizing human rights and political solution

(TC)The full text of the written Ministerial Statement by the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs on Sri Lanka, issued on 21 January 2009, follows:

The Government has long standing concerns with the promotion of peace in Sri Lanka, where the conflict has claimed at least 70,000 lives during the past 26 years. We are now at an important moment.

Since its abrogation in January 2008 of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement, the Sri Lankan government has embarked on a policy of militarily defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In recent months the government has made significant military gains, including the capture of Kilinochchi, the former administrative centre of the LTTE in the north, and the capture of remaining rebel territory in the Jaffna Peninsula. These gains make progress on a political solution even more urgent. The LTTE is a proscribed terrorist organisation with no democratic mandate to represent the Tamil people. It is responsible for a terrorist campaign that has targeted innocent civilians across all communities in Sri Lanka over the past three decades. Full Text

Gotabhaya losing temper is natural; I can’t find fault, says Media Minister

(Lanka-e-News, January 23, 2009, 9.15 AM) Minister of Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says that he cannot find fault in what angry Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse said in a TV interview regarding a statement made by Sirasa Media Network official Shevon Daniel who said that the arson attack was conducted by Army.

The Minister responded in this way at the cabinet press briefing held yesterday (22) when a journalist asked if the behavior of the Defense Secretary who branded Sirasa as voice of Tigers and threatened to arrest Daniel was right. Full Text

Praba in Cambodia – ‘Lanka Irida’

(LT)Unconfirmed reports of international intelligent services have revealed that Velupillai Prabakaran, who had been cornered in Pudukuduiruppu area in Mulaithivu due to offensives carried out by Security Forces and due to deterioration of his health condition, fled on board a fast attack crafts of the tigers on the 19th to Phnom Penh in Cambodia states ‘Lanka Irida’ issue of 25th January.

According to these sources Prabakaran has left from a point in Mulaithivu coastal area in a boat fitted with twin “Johnson” engines to Thailand’s ‘Phuket’ harbor and has travelled overland to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. There is a hotel called ‘Indolanka’ maintained by tiger terrorists in this city. Full Text

Situation Report (Jan 23th) - SL Army

LTTE Explosive Items Found

WANNI: ARMY troops conducted a cordon and search operation in the general area of KOOMANKULAM, northwest of VAVUNIYA, Thursday (22) afternoon and found 750 g of explosives, one electronic detonator, 10 m of flexible wire, forty-three hand grenades, twenty-six Arul type mortar bombs, one Rocket Propeller Grenade (RPG) bomb, ten 81mm mortar bombs and ten 60 mm mortar bombs.

One more LTTE Camp Complex with Many Constructions Found Full Text

Weerawansa meets Akashi

(DN)National Freedom Front Leader Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa told visiting Japanese special Peace Envoy Yashushi Akashi that in the same way the battle was won against separatist terrorist the people in the South would be able to win the hearts and minds of the people of the North.

The duo met at the official residence of the Japanese Ambassador in Colombo. Akashi said all signs pointed to the end of the three decades old war and the return to peace in Sri Lanka adding that the Japan would always stand by Sri Lanka for achieving peace. Full Text

Hell Is A Very Small Place

(SP)January 23, 2009: As the LTTE is forced back into a corner (400 square kilometers) of northeast Sri Lanka (including about 40 kilometers of coastline). There, several thousand LTTE gunmen are accompanied by over 200,000 civilians (many involuntarily). In the last week or so, 300-400 of these civilians a week have fled to government controlled territory. The army has surrounded the coastal town of Mullaittivu, which is the center of LTTE operations. The army believes it can destroy this last LTTE enclave in about three months. Full Text

Sri Lanka presses rebels, but at a mounting cost

By Somini Sengupta

(HT)NEW DELHI: As a potent military offensive by the Sri Lankan government whittles away one of the world's shrewdest and most well-armed ethnic separatist armies, the cost of war is mounting, press freedom is shriveling and the political endgame remains as elusive as ever.

Over the past several months, the army has trounced the feared Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the country's north, wresting control of rebel bunkers, office buildings and airstrips. This month alone, it seized two vital landmarks: the rebels' erstwhile administrative capital, called Kilinochchi, and the isthmus called Elephant Pass, which connects northern Jaffna Peninsula to the rest of the island. Their territory fast shrinking, the Tamil Tigers now appear to be cornered in and around their northeastern garrison town of Mullaitivu. Full Text

22 Indian fishermen arrested by Lankan Navy

(zeenews)Colombo, Jan 23: At least 22 Indian fishermen on six boats have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly straying into the island nation's waters.

The fishermen were arrested yesterday while they were were illegally fishing in Sri Lanka's northern sea waters off Kankesanthurai in Jaffna, an official with the Sri Lankan Navy told reporters. Full Text

SRI LANKA: UNICEF urges Tigers to ensure free movement out of conflict areas

COLOMBO, 23 January 2009 (IRIN) - The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has called on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to guarantee the free movement of hundreds of thousands of civilians - including as many as 75,000 children - out of conflict areas in the north.

"We now have a high number of people concentrated in a small area and we are very concerned for their safety. They are close to the fighting and have poor access to healthcare and shelter as well as proper water and sanitation," Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Country Representative in Sri Lanka, told IRIN. Full Text

Sri Lankan army says Tamil Tigers close to losing firepower

COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops have advanced to a key area held by Tamil Tigers and are on the verge of destroying the rebels' artillery, a military official said Friday.

Soldiers were on the verge of taking the village of Visuamadu in the district of Mullaittivu, where Tamil Tiger rebels have been forced to retreat in the face of a major military onslaught, spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said.

"After we take Visuamadu village, the Tigers will not be in a position to use their artillery guns," Nanayakkara said. Full Text

Shared interests in combating terrorism - President sends good wishes to Obama

(defence.lk)Sri Lanka and the US share common democratic values and perspectives on a broad range of political issues, particularly in combating terrorism said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message of good wishes to Barack Obama, President of the United States of America.

"The Government and people of Sri Lanka deeply appreciate the principled stand taken by Government of United States that the integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka is non-negotiable. The role the United States is playing in achieving peace in Sri Lanka through the consolidation of democratic institutions and promoting economic development has earned our admiration and gratitude," President Rajapaksa further said. Full Text

Air Force jets, helicopter gunships continue raids at LTTE positions- Mullaittivu

(defence.lk)SLAF jets and MI-24 helicopter gunships continued air sorties at identified LTTE resistance positions in support of the advancing 59 Div, 57 Div and TF-3 troops at Mullaittivu, today (Jan 23).

Multiple air attacks were carried out South of Mullaittivu, East of Visuamadu and Northeast of the Kalmadukulam Tank since 6.30 this morning, Air Force sources said. According to Air Force Spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara, the initial raid was conducted by fighter jets in support of the 59 Division troops, at an LTTE resistance position located South of Mullaittivu at around 6.30a.m. A similar raid was conducted Northeast of the Kalmadukulam Tank Bund in support of the 57 Division troops at 12.20a.m., the sources said.

Earlier, at around 9.45a.m., MI-24 helicopter gunships launched close combat air assaults at an identified LTTE resistance position and defence line East of Visuamadu. The air assault was conducted in support of the Task Force -3 troops, the sources further said.

TF- 4 troops uncover LTTE body, T-56 weapon - Mullaittivu

(defence.lk)A slain LTTE terrorist body and a T-56 assault riffle was uncovered by the Task Force -4 troops Friday(Jan 23), following a confrontation with a group of terrorist in general area Southeast of Puthukudiyirippu, Mullaittivu.

According to area security sources, the fighting ensued with terrorists at around 8.45a.m., after troops detected the LTTE terrorist movement in close range. Further search operations are underway, the sources said.

Troops capture LTTE satellite camp and workshop, seize weapons - Mullaittivu

(defence.lk)Troops continued rattling remaining LTTE defence lines and satellite bases in the Mullaittivu battle frontier at Puthukudiyirippu, as TF-4 claimed capturing a well fortified LTTE camp site in the area yesterday(Jan 22). Terrorists were forced to flee with heavy damages as troops directed intense multi-frontal attacks at identified enemy positions in the area, security sources said. The camp site included 5 cement huts and 3 water tanks which was well hidden from aerial detection, under a thick canopy.

Meanwhile, separate confrontations between troops and LTTE terrorists had ensued throughout yesterday, in general area West of Puthukudiyirippu the sources said. Troops have recovered 2x T-56 assault riffles in a search operation conducted in the area. Full Text

Malaysia orders a countrywide alert on fleeing tiger supremo Prabhakaran

(By Walter Jayawardhana)

(defence.lk)Malaysian Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan told Kula Lumpur's Strait Times that he has ordered a country wide alert to be on the watch out for Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The alert was issued on the suspicion that he may have escaped to Malaysia after Sri Lankan troops surrounded his last stronghold, Mulaitivu in a 50,000 strong force. The Malaysian Police Chief told the newspaper that there was a suspicion that Prabhakaran might have escaped to Malaysia or the neighbouring Thailand. Full Text

UN calls on LTTE to meet their responsibilities- Statement from the UN in Sri Lanka

(defence.lk)The United Nations in Sri Lanka has issued its strongest possible protest to the LTTE for their refusal to allow UN national staff and dependents to return from the Vanni with the present UN convoy.

The staffs are part of a UN convoy which traveled to the Vanni on Friday 16 January delivering urgent food and emergency supplies to displaced populations. Due to fighting between the LTTE and Government forces, this convoy has only been able to move safely today. Full Text

Sri Lankan Army provides opportunities for children of the Eastern Province

(defence.lk)Despite the military operations underway in the North and the need to keep the hard won peace in the East, the Sri Lankan Army often finds time for other activities of benefit to the people. These include everything from sports festivals and cultural shows to trade fairs and industrial exhibitions. One regular programme includes the organisation of trips to Colombo for schoolchildren from the East.

More than 1,300 children from 26 schools participated during 2007 and 2008, and the Army hopes to continue its work in 2009 and beyond. They include Tamil, Sinhala and English medium students, providing an opportunity for all ethnicities to mingle together and learn from experience the lessons of harmonious coexistence. Full Text

Tigers' losing game

(defencewire)Many rumours are circulating about the escape of Velupillai Prabhakaran. The most recent one is where the LTTE supremo had escaped by plane. The Navy claimed its gunboats opened fire at an aircraft flying over Chalai. The Air Force has denied this claim. In another claim, Prabhakaran is now living in Malaysia.

We have obtained definite proof that Prabhakaran was still hiding in the 400km2 area now under siege until the 12th. A hardcore cadre captured recently claimed that he had seen Prabhakaran on the 12th, in person. Full Text