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 Post subject: Tigers’ front threatened to target reservoirs, hospitals
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:20 pm 
Tigers’ front group may target reservoirs

Tuesday, 7 November, 2006
© Gulf Times Newspaper, 2006

COLOMBO: A suspected Tamil Tiger front organisation has threatened to attack civilian targets including hospitals and water reservoirs in southern Sri Lanka in retaliation against military strikes on rebel areas.

The High Security Zone Residents’ Liberation Force, which claimed responsibility for a rash of deadly attacks on troops in the north earlier this year, said it was giving the military a final warning to halt attacks on rebel territory.

The military and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) each accuse the other of provoking near daily artillery and mortar bomb duels in the north and east.

“Purposeful destruction of Tamil civilian lives and infrastructure would lead to Sinhala civilian lives and infrastructure becoming inevitable targets,” the suspected front said in a message faxed to Reuters overnight.

“We are sure that the people of the south are fully aware of the sort of humanitarian catastrophe they would have to face if one of the dams in the south is to burst,” it added. “Our retaliation may be at anywhere and at any time. We urge civilians and the international community to take due care.”

The group referred to an air raid near a hospital in the rebels’ northern stronghold of Kilinochchi on Thursday, an attack which killed five civilians in a nearby house and which the island’s main donors — Japan, Norway, the United States and the European Union — have condemned.

“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” the group said. “There are several hospitals in southern Sri Lanka. Not all are guarded by barbed wire and special forces.”

It said it could also disrupt schools in the south if Tamil students’ exams were delayed in the army-held Jaffna peninsula, which is cut off from the rest of the island by rebel lines. The group did not say elaborate.

The Tigers say suspected fronts like the high Security Zone Residents’ Liberation Force have been formed by disgruntled Tamils who have decided to take up arms, and are not part of their movement.

Analysts said the threats should be taken seriously, and fear that the Tigers could turn to guerrilla attack tactics from the more conventional warfare which the foes have been fighting in the north and east since renewed civil war flared in late July.

“It is definitely the Tigers using another arm to set the ground for something they are planning,” Iqbal Athas, an analyst with Jane’s Defence Weekly, said yesterday.

“I would think an attack becomes inevitable in the current scenario,” he added. “It is a frightening scenario.”

The first peace talks between the foes in eight months collapsed a week ago over a rebel demand that the government reopen the main north-south highway which runs through Tiger territory to Jaffna.

More than 65,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 1983, including more than 1,000 dead this year alone.

Sri Lanka’s military and Tamil Tiger rebels yesterday accused each other of initiating artillery attacks in the island’s restive east as both sides braced for a major offensive in the region.

“Ground and intelligence sources have confirmed that the Tigers are preparing to launch a major offensive south of Maavilaru, Kadjuwatte and Mankerni areas,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

The military said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had launched artillery salvos aimed at trapping civilians and had prevented food supplies from reaching several rebel-held villages.

“Continuous Tiger artillery shelling and mortar fire from Kadiraweli and Vakarai towards the Kadjuwatta and Manrkerni army camps have prevented food supplies reaching Vakarai,” the ministry said.

The LTTE denied the charge and said it was the security forces who started shelling rebel-held areas and carried out an air attack yesterday afternoon.

“The military is shelling civilian villages and there were a couple of air raids this afternoon,” Tiger military spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan said by telephone when contacted in the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi.

He said the troops had also fired mortar bombs in a bid to prevent civilians from crossing the de facto front lines to buy provisions.

“If the military says that we started the firing, all they have to do is allow ceasefire monitors into the area so that they can make a determination,” Ilanthiriyan said.

He said civilians in rebel-held areas were dangerously running low on food supplies and blamed the military for imposing an unofficial blockade.

Sri Lanka’s key foreign aid donors — the United States, European Union, Japan and Norway — have asked both the government and the Tigers to refrain from military action even as peace talks between the combatants collapsed in Geneva last month.

Despite a truce in place since February 2002, nearly 3,300 people have died in fighting in the past year. Still, neither side has renounced the truce and both say they have only acted in self defence.

The government has said the Tigers aim to step up attacks ahead of the birthday of their supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran on November 26. His birthday coincides with the rebels’ “Heroes’ Week”, which commemorates the 18,500-plus guerrillas killed in the three-decade-old conflict for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority in the Sinhalese-majority nation.

The first Tiger activist to be killed by security forces was shot and wounded on November 21, 1982, and died a few days later on November 27, the date that Prabhakaran delivers his annual policy statement.–Agencies

 Post subject: Group threatens attacks on Sri Lanka civilians
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:57 pm 
Group threatens attacks on Sri Lanka civilians

"Ultimately it would be the Sinhala people who will pay the price for the actions of their sons and daughters occupying the Tamil motherland" "On several occasions we had warned of every action having an equal and opposite reaction. We regret the retaliatory measures that have been forced upon us, and extend our early condolences to the victims." - The High Security Zone Residents' Liberation Force

By Ranga Sirilal
@ Alert Net / Reuters

COLOMBO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - A suspected front for Tamil Tiger rebels vowed on Saturday to kill majority Sinhalese civilians in southern Sri Lanka in retaliation for the army bombing of a refugee camp this week that killed dozens of minority Tamils.

The High Security Zone Residents' Liberation Force, which has claimed responsibility for a rash of deadly attacks on troops, made its threat a day after a pro-rebel Tamil MP was slain in the capital.

"Ultimately it would be the Sinhala people who will pay the price for the actions of their sons and daughters occupying the Tamil motherland," the group, which claims to represent Tamils displaced by army high security zones in the northern army-held Jaffna peninsula, said in a statement faxed to Reuters.

"On several occasions we had warned of every action having an equal and opposite reaction. We regret the retaliatory measures that have been forced upon us, and extend our early condolences to the victims."

The group has also previously threatened to hit hospitals and infrastructure in the south.

Tamil Tiger rebels say 47 people were killed in Wednesday's attack on the camp, set up in a school in rebel-held territory in the eastern district of Batticaloa. Nordic truce monitors counted 23 corpses, but do not rule out a higher figure.

The international community has voiced outrage at the shelling, and called on the government and the rebels to respect human rights and safeguard thousands of civilians caught in the middle of the two-decade conflict.

Survivors say the rebels provoked the attack by firing heavy guns from near the camp, and the foes accuse each other of using civilians as human shields.

Aid workers and truce monitors say around 30,000-35,000 civilians - most of whom were displaced from their homes further north when fighting flared in August -- are trapped in the area.

Foreign nations form the United States to India to peace mediator Norway have called on both sides to halt violence threatening to plunge the island into a full-blown return to a conflict that has killed more than 65,000 people since 1983.

They condemned the assassination of Nadarajah Raviraj, a prominent human rights lawyer and MP for the Tamil National Alliance -- widely seen as the Tigers' proxy in parliament -- who was gunned down in Colombo on Friday as he headed to court.

That attack in turn came hours after naval clashes off the north and east coasts in which the military said it sank a total of 24 rebel boats - a claim rejected by the Tigers.

President Mahinda Rajapakse, under increasing international pressure to solve a rash of extrajudicial killings, massacres and abductions blamed on both sides, has called for Scotland Yard to investigate Raviraj's murder.

The TNA has accused government forces or forces aligned to it for the killing.

"The president told us that he invited a London-based investigation team, but I don't know it has materialised or not. We are not satisfied," said fellow TNA MP Mavai Senadhirajah.

The government flatly rejects the Tigers' demand for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the island's north and east, where they already run a de facto state, and any meaningful peace deal is seen years off at best.

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