Many killed in Sri Lanka fighting

The Sri Lankan government has said that 22 soldiers and a "large number" of Tamil Tigers have been killed in fighting between the two sides on the Jaffna peninsula.

    The Tigers say the Sri Lankan army has reached their positions

    The government denied earlier on Wednesday launching an offensive against the Tigers, saying the military action was in retaliation for attacks on its troops.

    Security forces along the forward defence line near Muhamalai had been "forced to retaliate" to sporadic attacks by rebels since late Tuesday, using heavy artillery and rockets, the Media Centre for National Security said.

    It said the air force and navy had helped "neutralise and destroy identified Tiger concentrations and reinforcements by the sea."

    The fighting killed 22 soldiers and a "large number" of Tigers and 113 more troops were wounded.

    Different story

    Rasiah Ilanthiraiyan, a Tamil Tiger military spokesman, said: "The military is staging a full-scale offensive along our northern border.

    "They have come as far as our positions, but they haven't breached them. They are firing the biggest of their guns."

    "It is crucial that the government and the LTTE now use this opportunity to cease hostilities"

    Erik Solheim, Norwegian peace negotiator

    The Tigers said at the weekend that the military was preparing to mount a fresh onslaught and repeatedly said that any incursion into territory held by them would mean the end of peace negotiations.

    The Tamil Tigers released a statement saying: "The attacks come hot on the heels of repeated warnings by LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] political head, SP Thamilselvan, to the Norwegian facilitators and the international community to ensure that such large scale attacks are halted in view of the proposed direct talks."

    Peace negotiations

    The Tamil Tigers had agreed on Tuesday to resume peace talks which are due to take place in Geneva on October 28 and 29.

    Thamilselvan said in a statement posted on their official website: "We are ready for talks, and agreed to the venue and date."

    But he later told the pro-Tiger website: "However, if the military aggression continues, we will be forced to reconsider the decision."

    Erik Solheim, Norway's top peace negotiator, had welcomed on Tuesday the agreement between the Sri Lankan administration and the Tigers to hold talks.

    Solheim said: "It is crucial that the government and the LTTE now use this opportunity to cease hostilities.

    "They are taking a small but important step towards continuing the peace process although the situation on the ground remains difficult."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.