The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Friday, 22 February 2008

Sri Lanka raid 'kills civilians'

An air strike has killed at least five civilians in territory controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka, hospital officials say.

At least two of the dead are said to be children from the same family.

Sri Lanka's government said its air force had attacked a boatyard used by the rebels near Kilinochchi town.

There is no independent confirmation of the casualties. The government has claimed repeated successes against the rebels in recent weeks.

In January, Sri Lanka's government formally withdrew from a truce deal that had become increasingly obsolete amid rising violence.

Tamil Tiger rebels control a swathe of territory in the north of the island and are fighting for an independent state.

Both rebels and the military accuse each other of targeting civilians.

UN visit

Friday's air raid, west of Kilinochchi, killed five civilians, local hospital officials said.

Another 14 people were reportedly hurt in the attack.

A local man told the BBC his wife and two children were killed when a bomb fell near a bunker. A third child was badly hurt, the man said.

The Tamil Tiger rebels said eight people had died in Friday's attack, three of them children.

Journalists are not allowed to enter rebel-held territory, making it hard to confirm casualty figures.

Both sides have been accused of exaggerating the number of enemy casualties.

An international human rights group on Thursday called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels for using child soldiers.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report also accused the government of ignoring child recruitment by an allied paramilitary force.

The report came as a UN envoy began a visit to the island nation to assess the UN mission there.

The Tigers have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983. The government pushed them out of their strongholds in the east last year.

More than 70,000 people have been killed since the civil war began.

Source: BBC

45 killed in Lankan ground clashes, air force bombs Kilinochchi

At least 43 LTTE militants and two soldiers were killed in fierce ground clashes in the embattled Northern Sri Lanka as air force fighter jets pounded a rebel stronghold, officials said on Friday.

"Sri Lankan Air Force fighter jets made offensive sorties at an inland sea Tiger base this morning at Kiranchchi, west of Kilinochchi," the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said.

The air raid was conducted around 8:15 am, it said adding "pilots have confirmed completing the mission successfully".

In ground clashes between the LTTE and security forces, five militants were killed in two separate confrontations in North-Western Mannar yesterday, the army said.

Three rebels were gunned down in Parappakandal area in the region on Thursday in another confrontation.

Also, eight LTTE rebels were killed in west Mullikulam area of Vavuniya yesterday while another militant was killed elsewhere in the region on Thursday, the Defence ministry said.

Meanwhile, in clashes at the Northeastern Welioya, troops killed six LTTE cadres yesterday, the army said.

In Karampaikulam area of Mannar, troops killed four Tiger militants yesterday, the army said adding two soldiers also lost their lives in the confrontation.

Source: Hindu