Friday, May 12, 2006
Tamil Tiger rebels sank a Sri Lankan patrol boat as it escorted a Naval vessel yesterday, leaving 17 sailors missing. In retaliation, the navy sank five rebel vessels and the Air Force launched airstrikes on guerrilla-held territory. Some 50 Tamils were believed dead. Fifteen Tamil Tiger vessels, including suicide boats, attacked the convoy and Naval ship with 710 soldiers on board. The violence may mark a return to civil war, as a 2002 ceasefire which brought an end to almost two decades of fighting appears unlikely to last. Keheliya Rambukwella, a government spokesman, said: "This is a very serious attack, a blatant violation of the cease-fire agreement."
Sri Lankan Patrol BoatsAlso yesterday, two civilians died and at least three others were hurt in three attacks blamed on separatist rebels in the north and north-east. The killings took place two days after Yasushi Akashi, the Japanese peace envoy, failed to convince the rebels to resume peace talks with the government. Akashi, special envoy to Sri Lanka since 2002, said relations between the government and rebels are at their worst since their 2002 ceasefire.