Monday, September 28, 2009

Lanka's decisive phase of ethnic war cost $2.8 billion

Sri Lanka's decisive phase of the war with the Tamil Tigers cost the government USD 2.8 billion, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
has said, as he expressed concern that the LTTE networks overseas continued to raise funds.

The Prime Minister expressed concern that the remnants of the "fast-diminishing LTTE networks" overseas continue efforts to raise funds through illegal means.

"Although we have been successful in defeating terrorism in Sri Lanka, we continue to urge our friends and partners in the international community to be vigilant, and to continue to take action against the illegal acts of the LTTE in their soil," he told the UN General Assembly yesterday.

He said the "anti-terrorist operations cost us only USD 2.8 billion in all, compared with other anti-terrorist operations elsewhere which are costing much more".

The Prime Minister said his country remained committed to international obligations on human rights and humanitarian standards. Underlining that valuable lessons had been learnt from past experiences, he expressed the government's firm resolve to resettle the IDPs expeditiously, in co-operation with our international partners.

"Sri Lanka is committed to complying with its international obligations in the field of human rights and humanitarian standards," the Prime Minister said.

For the first time in over a decade, local government elections were held in the North completely free of any violence and intimidation, he said.

© Times of India

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Sri Lanka seeks US lessons over rebel suspects

The Sri Lankan government said on Sunday it would study the United States' treatment of suspected Islamic militants to learn how to deal with thousands of alleged former Tamil Tiger rebels.

Sri Lanka's attorney general Mohan Peiris was set to arrive in Washington on Monday for talks with his US counterpart and with officials in the US defence establishment, justice ministry spokesman Gamini Godakanda said.

"We want to study how the US handled terrorist suspects, particularly hundreds of them from the Al-Qaeda network, after the 9/11 attacks in New York," Godakanda told AFP.

Sri Lankan officials estimate 15,000 former rebels are detained in camps alongside hundreds of thousands of war-displaced civilians.

The Tamil Tigers, who fought for a separate homeland from 1972, were defeated by Sri Lankan troops in May when the military killed their leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

"Some of the former fighters will face prosecution for their crimes, depending on the evidence. Others will be sent for rehabilitation," Godakanda said.

Sri Lanka has sought foreign cash for an ambitious plan to rehabilitate many former rebels and has already collected 23 million dollars towards the project.

Britain, Japan and the US have donated money and 3,000 ex-rebels have already begun training in plumbing, masonry, carpentry and electrical work.


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Monday, September 28, 2009

Military compelled to disperse unruly crowd - Brig. Nanayakkara

The military was forced to open fire at an unruly crowd in the Menik Farm area when they aimed stones and threw a hand grenade at security forces men providing security to the displaced persons in the camp, Military spokesman,Brigadier,Udaya Nanayakkara told

The military was compelled to take action to disperse the unruly crowd and was forced to fire in the air.

He said the elements who threw a grenade at troops had attempted to flee.Troops managed to open fire wounding two suspects, he added.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the wounded suspects and the crowd had links with the terrorists.


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Monday, September 28, 2009

Sri Lanka vows anew to resettle displaced Tamils

Sri Lanka's prime minister vowed anew here that Colombo would quickly resettle civilians still in state-run camps after being displaced by the government rout of Tamil separatists.

Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka told the UN General Assembly yesterday that a key priority for his government was to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the roughly 290,000 Tamil civilians who "were liberated from the decades-long hold" of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

He said the resettlement would be carried out in cooperation with international partners.

He however warned that "the stability and security that we have restored at great human cost cannot and must not be compromised, particularly when a large number of self-confessed ex-LTTE cadres continue to mix with the IDPs (internally displaced persons).

© Press Trust of India

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Sri Lanka wounds 2 trying to flee refugee camp

By Bharatha Mallawarachi - Sri Lankan soldiers fired on a group of war refugees trying to flee a camp in the north of the island, wounding two, the military said Sunday.

The foiled escape bid happened late Saturday in the district of Vavuniya, near a former battle zone. The civil war between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels ended in May, but nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians are still held in military-run camps.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said residents had thrown stones at soldiers guarding the Manik Farm camp and tried to flee. He said the troops had to open fire in self-defense and to disperse the violent crowd.

Two people were wounded and another 19 inmates were put in police custody, he said, adding that the situation was under control.

Sri Lanka's government has come under intense pressure from human rights groups and other countries to free the hundreds of thousands of camp detainees. Rights groups say the detentions are an illegal form of collective punishment and warn that imminent monsoon rains could create health crises in the low-lying and congested camps.

Authorities say they are screening the camp inmates to arrest former guerrillas, and are clearing land mines from the Tamils' villages. President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently promised a visiting U.N. envoy that all displaced people would be returned home by the end of January.

Sri Lanka declared victory over the Tamil Tigers in May, ending their 25-year fight for an independent state. The displaced civilians fled the last phase of fighting.

The U.N. estimates that 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed in the civil war.

Meanwhile, the government said Sunday it was seeking advice from the United States in its efforts to deal with more than 10,000 former rebel fighters held in custody.

Gamini Godakanda, spokesman for the Justice Ministry, said attorney general Mohan Peiris and ministry secretary Suhada Gamlath have left for U.S. to study how it handled terrorist suspects.

They are expected to meet officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and the Justice Department, he said.

© Associated Press

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