|Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels turning more violent amid gov't offensive, official says|
|Monday, 02 June 2008|
The Associated PressSINGAPORE: Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels are becoming more violent as they suffer setbacks because of a new government offensive, a top official from the war-torn South Asian nation said Saturday.Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said the Tigers have shown no interest in negotiating for permanent peace to end 25 years of separatist violence on the island nation off southern India.
On the contrary, there is a "continuing focus on their part to resort to violence and terrorism" — evident from recent deadly train and bus bombings — Kohona told reporters on the sidelines of a regional security conference in Singapore."It looks like they are absolutely committed to terrorism and nothing else. Maybe because in the battlefield they have been pushed back methodically by the government and their only response is to blow up civilians," Kohona said.
Public affairs personnel for the Tamil Tigers were not immediately available for comment.Kohona said the rebels' increased aggression could be aimed at trying to terrorize the government into halting its operations in the war-torn north, but he vowed that efforts to "militarily repel them will not be curtailed.""There is no room for terrorism in this modern world.
Terrorism is an unacceptable means of political expression," he said.Kohona called for more international efforts to break the rebels' network of fundraising through fake charities, which he said raises billions of dollars (euros) each year. He also called for global efforts to improve a mechanism to halt the smuggling of military hardware through international waters into Sri Lanka."Money is also laundered and brought to Southeast Asia to procure weapons.
We need to put in place better mechanism to bring this under control," he said."Western countries must help us," he said. "There must be more cooperation on intelligent sharing, fundraising must be stopped and there must be proactive cooperation in stopping the flow of weapons into Sri Lanka."The rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent state for the island's minority ethnic Tamils, who have been marginalized by successive governments controlled by majority ethnic Sinhalese.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.The Tamil Tigers have been listed as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.
Kohona dismissed reports that the government has set a target to crush the insurgents by the end of this year, saying it was "unrealistic" to give a deadline, but he voiced confidence that its operations will succeed.
(Courtesy : International Herald Tribune )
|Last Updated ( Monday, 02 February 2009 )|
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