200,000 FLEE TO REFUGEE CAMPS
I think this might be the first mention of the war in Sri Lanka on this blog. I apologise for this total lack of coverage of what should prove to be a fairly decisive front in the larger Fourth World War.
Recent battles in Sri Lanka have included hundreds of troops storming militant hideouts, militants chasing government soldiers out of military bases and seizing them, a large naval battle and an endless series of terror bombings.
It's extremely curious why this front in WWIV receives so little coverage in the Western media.
In Indonesia recently, I found the fighting in Sri Lanka to be a high ranking news story in newspapers and on nightly news programs.
Why does the media in Australia, the UK and the US ignore the Sri Lankan fighting?
It can't be for the lack of bodies or blood-soaked battles, the clashes have been vicious.
We'll make an effort to keep up to date on Sri Lanka in the future.
From the UK Independent :
And this from Reuters :
Sri Lanka's military has lost 28 soldiers in three days of artillery attacks as it advanced on Tamil Tiger rebel strongholds in northern Sri Lanka.
The rebels began firing artillery at troops manning defence lines in Muhamalai at the base of the army-controlled Jaffna peninsula on Thursday, prompting a military response, spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said.
He said the military was trying to destroy the rebels' artillery positions.
An official of the defence Ministry's Media Center for National Security said troops continued to move yesterday at a slow pace amid heavy artillery from both sides.
Twenty-eight soldiers were killed and 119 wounded in three days of fighting as government ground troops advanced 1,980 feet and captured the rebels' forward line of bunkers, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Rebel official Seevarathnam Puleedevan denied that the Tigers' bunkers had been overrun and said his cadres continued to resist the troops.
The fighting came less than a week after the army claimed to have routed Tamil Tigers from Sampur, a rebel-held village in the northeast.
While neither side has withdrawn from a 2002 cease-fire, weeks of escalating battles along borders separating rebel- and government-held territory in the northeast have left it in tatters.
Sri Lanka's government said on Saturday there was no question of withdrawing from a rebel stronghold it captured five days ago, despite threats of retaliation and renewed fighting in the north of the country.JAPAN MAY BE READY TO FREEZE TAMIL TIGER ASSETS, OUTLAW REBELS
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have threatened to strike back if the army does not immediately withdraw from territory near the strategic Trincomalee harbour in the northeast of the Indian Ocean island nation.
Senior rebel leader S. Puleedevan told Reuters on Friday the seizure of Sampur, the first major capture of territory by either side since a 2002 ceasefire, was "tantamount to a declaration of war".
The rebels' political chief, S.P. Thamilselvan, said it had brought an end to the ceasefire agreement.
But the government says it was forced to take Sampur because the rebels had been using it to shell a naval base in Trincomalee and disrupt a maritime supply route to the besieged, army-held Jaffna peninsula in the north.
"In the light of this the question of withdrawal will never arise," defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told Reuters. "We have to accept this challenge from Puleedevan."
The rebel enclave at Sampur was also threatening an important oil storage terminal, a flour mill and a cement factory, he said.
The government also accused the Tigers of attempting to "escalate the violence" through a continuous artillery and mortar barrage near Muhamalai on the Jaffna peninsula on Friday.Diplomats say it is difficult to see a way to rescue the peace process and warn that a "quagmire" may have developed with both sides apparently more interested in fighting than talking.
It is unlikely, they add, the rebels will return to the negotiating table unless they somehow regain control of Sampur.Meanwhile, the government said it was evacuating 795 civilians by ship from the Jaffna peninsula on Saturday to take them to Trincomalee, in the largest evacuation from the government enclave since the latest fighting began.
The Tigers have refused to give the boat, which left Jaffna earlier on Saturday, a guarantee of safe passage.
The foes blame each other for trying to force a full-scale return to a war that has killed more than 65,000 people since 1983.
Hundreds of civilians, troops and Tiger fighters have been killed in the past month, and more than 200,000 people have fled to refugee camps across the island's rural northeast.