The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Lanka procuring arms from Pak to fight LTTE

Engaged in an all-out military campaign against the LTTE, Sri Lanka has said it was procuring arms from Pakistan to meet the terror threat from the Tamil Tigers.

"We are facing a problem of terrorism against a democratically-elected legitimate state. In that situation, the government needs to procure equipment to resist that terrorism. So we are making the purchases," Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India C R Jaisinghe said when asked about reports that Sri Lanka was procuring arms from Pakistan.

Noting that the Island nation had witnessed a surge in violence in recent months, he said: "The arms and equipment purchases are for our internal security and they are certainly not because we perceive a threat from any external power."

Asked whether Sri Lanka wanted military supplies from India, the envoy was not specific and broadly said, "we always look forward to Indian support. We have no doubt that we have the goodwill of India".

"I think there is no doubt in the minds of Sri Lankans that we have the goodwill (of India) in our effort to preserve the undivided nature of the country and work for a political solution that is acceptable to all," he said.

India has been refusing to supply arms to Sri Lanka but is exchanging political support for maintenance of the Island nation's territorial unity.

With India reluctant to enhance defence cooperation with it, Sri Lanka has shown signs of turning towards Pakistan with a high-level defence delegation from Islamabad holding talks with senior officials in Colombo recently.

Source: indiantimes

AI wants 'access' to Lanka to monitor alleged rights abuses

Amnesty International has asked the Sri Lankan government to make protection of human rights its top priority and facilitate the monitoring and reporting of alleged abuses by allowing the rights watchdog "access" to the country.

"The situation in Sri Lanka has deteriorated and both the government and the LTTE stand accused of serious human rights abuses. All parties should immediately stop targeting civilians and uphold their commitments to international human rights law," the group's Secretary Irene Khan said in a statement.

"Amnesty International's role is to monitor and report on human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict. The organisation has repeatedly requested that the government should facilitate this role by allowing us access to the country," she said, adding Sri Lanka must make protection of human rights the top priority.

Amnesty International also rejected a recent statement by government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella that the rights watchdog had failed "to utter a single word" against recent bomb attacks in the Island country.

In the last month alone the organisation made several statements condemning the targeting of civilians including one on 4th February 2008, Khan said.


LTTE says impossible to get Prabhakaran

Rubbishing frequent claims by Sri Lankan government that the elusive LTTE supremo Vellupillai Prabhakaran has been injured in a military raid, his key aide has said the people would soon realise the ''futility'' of army's claims of success against the rebels.

''A false propaganda saying our leader Prabhakaran is injured is being carried. Nobody can approach our leader,'' LTTE political head B Nadesan told the Tamil Daily Thinakkural in an interview on Saturday.

While the Sri Lankan security forces were claiming success in their clashes against LTTE, Nadesan said the ''people of Sri Lanka will realise the futility of such a claim in times to come''.

Nadesan accused the Sri Lankan government of trying to sideline the Norwegian mediators besides contradicting the United Nations. ''The government is not in favour of peace process,'' he said.

Lankan Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke had said that fighter jets had dropped 20 bombs on Prabhakaran's bunker on November 26, 2007 and had claimed that the rebel leader could have been injured in the attack. The LTTE denied the claim.

The Air Chief repeated the claim on Thursday saying he was confident that Prabhakaran, 53, had been critically injured in that raid.

Over 1000 rebels and hundreds of civilians have died in escalated violence in the country since the government scrapped a tattered 2002 ceasefire last month.

Source: NDTV

Lanka says 19 Tigers killed in attack on camp

A key LTTE camp in the rebel stronghold of Wanni was targeted by Sri Lankan Air Force jets on Saturday even as troops killed 19 Tamil Tigers in the island nation’s northwest, the Defence Ministry said.

One soldier was killed in clashes between the security forces and rebels in north-western Mannar, it said.

Air Force jets “successfully bombed LTTE’s operation co-ordination centre in the south of Palampiddi in (north-western) Mannar,” the Ministry said.

The location was identified as one of the well-protected main camps of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Wanni area where their heavy guns were deployed, it said.

Army troops advanced into LTTE territory ahead of Mannar defences today killing five Tamil Tiger rebels and destroying three LTTE bunkers in Karampaikkulam area, the military said.