Sri Lanka’s shelling ‘declaration of war’ - LTTE

[TamilNet, Sunday, 06 August 2006, 17:26 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers said Sunday that the Sri Lankan government’s artillery bombardment of LTTE-controlled territory as amounting to “declaration of war.” The LTTE has not said if it is going to retaliate. Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer is undertaking hectic diplomatic efforts from Kilinochchi where he had been meeting LTTE officials.

SLA vehicle.
Sri Lankan army vehicles roll through Kallar, near the northeastern town of Trincomalee. (AFP)
“We consider this [bombardment] a declaration of war and strongly condemn the attitude of the government," S.P. Thamilselvan told Reuters through a translator via satellite phone.

The LTTE called off a major counter-offensive against Sri Lankan forces in Trincomalee Friday, but there has been no let up in Sri Lankan military shelling.

A deal brokered by Mr. Hanssen-Bauer to resolve a two-week old tense standoff and confrontation over a blocked waterway collapsed Sunday when Sri Lankan troops shelled the area, narrowly missing international monitors enroute to open the sluice gates.

Hours later, a Reuters witness saw and heard the heaviest military artillery and multi-barrel rocket barrage for days fired from military bases in Trincomalee toward rebel territory. Smoke rose from a whole section of the horizon and the ground shook.

Scores of civilians in LTTE-controlled parts of Trincomalee district have been killed and wounded by the Sri Lankan shelling Sunday.

MBRL fire, Trinco.
Sri Lanka's military fire a multi barrel rocket in Trincomalee in northeastern Sri Lanka August 2, 2006. (Reuters)
“Truce monitors slammed the government’s attacks which tore up the deal brokered by Norway’s Special Envoy.

"(The government) have the information that the LTTE has made this offer," Tommy Lekenmyr, chief of staff for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) told Reuters.

"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’s response to the LTTE’s humanitarian gesture was fire,” he told Sri Lanka’s MTV channel.


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