4TH LEAD: COLOMBO RESPONDS

Colombo bombards Maavilaru, SLMM Head narrowly escapes

[TamilNet, Sunday, 06 August 2006, 09:21 GMT]
Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission officials, Liberation Tigers Political Head S. Elilan and civilian representatives who went to Maavilaru site to re-open the closed sluice gates came under Sri Lanka Army artillery attack, initial reports said. Dozens of artillery shells were fired. Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer is in direct contact with Royal Norwegian Government and Colombo discussing the latest hostile attacks. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had ealier assured Norwegian Envoy Jon-Hanssen Bauer that attacks would be ceased. The re-opening of sluice gates is blocked by the new escalation of attacks.

SLMM Head inside bunker
Mr.Henricsson with Mr.Elilan at the entrance to a bunker to escape SLA artillery fire

The SLMM Head Major General Ulf Henricsson and Ove Jansen narrowly escaped from artillery attacks.

The SLMM, LTTE officials and the civilian representatives who were reaching the site were forced to take cover on the ground from the attacks.

The attack began around 2:30 p.m., according to the Director of LTTE's Peace Secretariat S. Puleedevan.

Meanwhile, AFP reported that Sri Lanka Governement resumed shelling after it rejected to enter deal with the Liberation Tigers to end water crisis.

Refering to Sunday's meeting between Norway's special envoy, Jon-Hanssen Bauer, and LTTE?s political leadership, Sri Lankan Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that they were not involved in Norway's talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that led to the guerrillas announcing they will open a sluice gate, the AFP reported.

SLMM officials, Elilan in Maavil aaru
Mr.Henricsson on satellite phone inside bunker with Mr.Elilan during artillery fire iat Maavil Aaru.
SLMM officials, Elilan  in Maavil aaru
SLMM head Ulf Henricsson with Mr.Elilan and representatives of Tamil civilians at Maavil Aaru area to open the sluice gates Sunday afternoon.


"We don't want terrorists to come and open the water way. They must simply allow irrigation engineers to do it, otherwise we will open it anyway," the AFP reported quoating Keheliya Rambukwella.

Military spokesman Upali Rajapakse said Sunday's shelling was part of their overall strategy of neutralising Tiger formations in the area and restoring water supplies.

"If water goes down the canal, it is because of the Sri Lankan security forces and not because of the Tigers," Rajapakse said.

Mavil aaru
SLMM head, another monitor with Elilan at the Maavil Aaru site.


Mavil aaru
SLMM monitor at the site speaking on the satellite phone from Maavil Aaru area when artillery fire takes place.

 

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