The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Lanka says no move to postpone Provincial Council polls

Sri Lanka has denied any move to postpone the Eastern Provincial Council elections scheduled for May 10, which are being held after a gap of 16 years.

"We deny there is any such moves to postpone the polls for the Provincial Council in the East. As of now there is no such thinking and the polls will go ahead on schedule," a government spokesman and senior minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters on Monday.

Rambukwella charged the former minister and Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Rauff Hakim with giving false information in this regard.

He dismissed it as an allegation based on false information given by certain groups that accuse the government of not wanting to conduct the Eastern elections in a peaceful manner.

He said the Elections Commissioner had made preparations to conduct a free and fair election in the Eastern Province like the one held for the local body polls in Batticaloa recently.

The spokesman assured that there was no need to worry about the security situation during the time of polls and that additional forces including police had been stationed in the East to meet any unforeseen incidents.

Source: Hindu

Prabhakaran met suicide squad before Lankan vessel was sunk

LTTE chief V Prabhakaran met his "elite" Black Sea Tigers suicide squad before they detonated an explosion on a Sri Lankan Navy Fast Attack Craft that killed 10 sailors late last month.

"The 10 sailors who had gone missing since March 22 are now presumed dead," a defence ministry official said.

Meanwhile, pro-LTTE website Tamilnet has said that the members of the suicide squad had a meeting with Prabhakaran and were photographed with him prior to undertaking their operations. The website identified three men as "Lt Anbumaran, Major Niranjan and Major Kananeela".

The Sri Lankan Navy on March 22 had announced that one of its Fast Attack Craft was caught "in a possible underwater blast". The locally built P438 deployed in northeastern coastal waters off Nayaru near the rebel stronghold of Mullaithivu has sunk due to the explosion, the Navy said.

It said that on receiving the SOS message from the sinking craft, other sea units launched a rescue mission and six of the 16 crew members were rescued.

An underwater blast damaged the boat's hull and caused it to sink in short duration of time, it said.

The navy asserted that there was no sea confrontation nor was any LTTE craft was present in the area when the incident took place.

"Navy suspects the blast was caused by a possible sea mine or due to some underwater weapon developed by the terrorists," it had said.

The pro-Tiger TamilNet, quoting the LTTE, had said the LTTE's "elite" Black Sea Tigers, engaged in a confrontation with a fleet of the navy in the seas off Mullaiththeevu, attacked and sank a SLN Dvora Fast Attack Craft between Mullaithivu and Nayaru.

The website had quickly confirmed the death of three of LTTE sea tigers though did not mention it as a suicide attack at that time.

Source: Hindu