Sunday, May 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Troops repulse LTTE attacks
Govt denies civilians’ exodus

COLOMBO, May 13 (PTI, UNI) — The Sri Lankan Government today denied report of mass exodus of civilians from northern Jaffna town and said its troops repulsed “desperate” attacks by the LTTE rebels at Columbuthurai and other areas in Jaffna peninsula and northern Vanni in which three soldiers and 11 Tamil Tigers were killed.

LTTE guerrillas made yet another attempt to breach the defences of the army in Columbuthurai, located in the outskirts of Jaffna town, a government release said here today.

However, “troops repulsed this attack causing terrorists to withdraw with their casualties,” it said, adding that three soldiers were killed and 38 wounded in the attack.

In another development, security forces killed seven rebels at Nagarkovil and Mahumali areas in the peninsula.

Army troops and guerrillas also exchanged fire in north-eastern Welioya region in the Vanni in which four rebels were killed and 10 guerrillas injured.

The release also said “despite fighting between security forces and terrorists in the Ariyalai area, life in Jaffna town goes on as usual. Residents are not showing any panic and continue their day to day activities”.

Government spokesman Ariya Rubasinghe denied reports that the LTTE had taken over Jaffna Kachcheri. He explained that an armed group of 12 LTTE infiltrators had attempted to force themselves into Kachcheri premises yesterday. Security forces retaliated by killing all members of the group.

The LTTE had issued a press statement stating that they have destroyed two major army bases at Kovilakkandy and Tanakilappu.

“This too is totally false. There were no army bases at these two locations,” Mr Rubasinghe said.

In a joint operation, security forces destroyed the Jetty at Sangupiddy, north of Pooneryn yesterday. Sangupiddy Jetty has been the supply route of terrorists from the mainland to the peninsula.

Reports from the North indicated that intense fighting was going on at several places in the vicinity of Jaffna.

Meanwhile, the President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunga, has called a meeting of representatives of all political parties on Monday to discuss the war situation in northern Jaffna and the government’s efforts to defeat terrorism.

Official sources said the meeting would take place at “Temple Tress”, the official residence of the President at 1000 hrs. Each party has been asked to send two representatives.

This is the first time an all-party meeting has been convened to discuss the situation after the government lost some key military bases, including Elephant Pass, when the LTTE launched massive attack on March 26.

Sri Lanka has welcomed the ban on the LTTE extended by the Indian Government yesterday. Political parties, including Tamil parties, welcomed the decision and said it was a timely step in the right direction taken by India at a time when the Liberation Tigers threatened to capture Jaffna.

LONDON (Reuters): Thousands of civilians have fled Jaffna. A pro-rebel website ( said on Saturday that the civilians had used bicycles, cars and vans to move to safer areas during a break in the curfew yesterday, fearing an eruption in fighting between troops and the rebels. Aid agencies also reported an exodus.

The rebels said in a statement issued from their London office late yesterday: “The combat units of the LTTE are consolidating their newly acquired positions along the coastal belt of Jaffna city preparing for a final assault on the heart of the capital.”

WASHINGTON: The USA is in close touch with Sri Lanka as well as India and Norway to help achieve a political solution to the crisis gripping the island nation, sources in the State Department said.

Washington is in constant touch with these countries along with the UK “in the hope of reaching a political solution to the Sri Lankan crisis,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday.

India has offered to mediate if asked by both parties involved in the Sri Lankan conflict, and “we have actually made clear that we would be willing to facilitate a process if we were asked,” Mr Boucher said.

He said, “The USA is encouraging Norway, which is playing the role of a negotiator in the Sri Lankan crisis, in consulting parties concerned in the conflict.” 


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