Tamils call shelling 'declaration of war'

The Tamil Tigers have said that shelling of their territory by Sri Lankan troops amounted to a declaration of war, but they had not yet decided whether to retaliate.

    SP Thamilselvan said there was still space for discussion

    SP Thamilselvan, leader of the rebel's political wing, said: "We consider this a declaration of war and strongly condemn the attitude of the government. 

    "We may have to take a defensive position if the shelling continues. It is not decided yet."

    He said there was still space for discussion while Norway's special peace envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer was in Kilinochchi. Hanssen-Bauer is expected to leave on Monday.

    Government blamed

    Sri Lankan artillery pounded Tiger territory hours after the rebels offered to give in to a key government demand to open a sluice gate providing water to government territory.

    The closure of the gate last month prompted the first ground fighting since the 2002 ceasefire.

    The Tigers said they would re-open it but as the head of the unarmed Nordic-staffed ceasefire monitoring mission, retired Swedish major general Ulf Henricsson, headed towards the sluice south of the northeastern port of Trincomalee, army artillery opened fire.

    Tommy Lekenmyr, chief of staff for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said: "The government have the information that the LTTE has made this offer.

    "It is quite obvious they are not interested in water. They are interested in something else. We will blame this on the government."

    The government said the Tigers must leave the area of the sluice gate, which officially lies in army territory, but which military sources said was in an area effectively controlled by the rebels.

    Palitha Kohona, head of the government peace secretariat, said: "The Tigers must vacate the area and let the irrigation engineers come in as they have done before."

    "The Tigers have caused complete mayhem with their illegal actions."

    Fighting has so far been restricted to a areas of the east near Trincomalee, where 21,000 displaced have been registered so far from Mutur alone. However, analysts fear it could spread.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.