May 19, 2000 |
As Tamil separatists sweep toward victory on the battlefield, they are beginning to cleanse their land of the people who were once their neighbors. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have won a series of victories against Sri Lankan forces in recent weeks, are stepping up attacks against ethnic Sinhalese civilians living in the region that the rebels claim as their homeland.
May 18, 2000 |
Tamil rebels shelled the Sri Lankan military's only airport in Jaffna on Wednesday, threatening the supply line for thousands of government troops. The international relief organization Doctors Without Borders said it was planning to move its base out of Jaffna if large-scale fighting breaks out in the city of 500,000 people.
May 17, 2000 |
Ending a three-day lull in their separatist fight, rebels in Sri Lanka resumed an assault on their former stronghold of Jaffna, while the island's government said it was time to talk peace. Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar acknowledged that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were fighting a "good battle," but he said it was time to come to the table after 17 years of war.
May 15, 2000 |
As the Sri Lankan army reels before an onslaught of rebel fighters, the people urging it to fight harder are the men in the saffron robes. Sri Lanka's Buddhist clergy, long an influential force in national politics, are stepping forward to rally the nation in its darkest hour. The string of defeats suffered by the army at the hands of separatist rebels, which has stunned and demoralized this island nation, has also drawn the monks out of their temples to try to hold the country together.
May 13, 2000 |
Tamil Tiger rebels rolled into the city of Jaffna on Friday, forcing government troops to retreat and marking a tenuous but dramatic victory in this island nation's long civil war. Troops with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, fighting for an independent state for minority Tamils since 1983, entered their cultural capital and met little resistance from government soldiers.
May 12, 2000 |
Tamil Tiger rebels said Thursday that they were closing in on Jaffna, while Sri Lankan jets stepped up bombing sorties on guerrilla positions. "Sri Lankan soldiers! You are occupying our land," Voice of Tigers rebel radio broadcast. "Our cadres are advancing. We will capture Jaffna. You must surrender or withdraw." The broadcast, monitored in the northern town of Vavuniya, said the rebels had captured Kolombuthurai and Maniyathotam, barely half a mile from Jaffna.
May 11, 2000 |
Led by waves of suicide bombers, Tamil Tiger guerrillas in Sri Lanka reached the gates of Jaffna on Wednesday, squeezing thousands of government troops and setting the stage for a climactic battle in the country's long civil war. The rebels, who are seeking an independent homeland, claimed to have captured an important bridge that is within artillery range of the government's Palali air base near Jaffna.
May 10, 2000 |
A day after the Sri Lankan government rejected a temporary cease-fire offer from separatist rebels, Tamil Tiger forces attacked troops defending the northern Jaffna peninsula. It was the first fighting there in nine days. The Parliament also extended emergency rule for another month, giving the military sweeping powers to seize property, ban publications and rallies and make arrests.
May 9, 2000 |
Sri Lanka's leaders spurned a cease-fire offer Monday that would have allowed them to evacuate thousands of government troops under siege by separatist guerrillas on the Indian Ocean island. The rejection came hours after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who are battling for a separate homeland, proposed a halt in the fighting to allow Sri Lankan troops to retreat from the city of Jaffna with "dignity and honor."
May 7, 2000 |
The government said Tamil Tiger rebels were raining artillery and mortar fire on troops Saturday as the military strengthened defenses to beat back an advance by the guerrillas on the northern Jaffna peninsula. A government statement said the air force had bombed rebel positions north and south of Elephant Pass, the peninsula's gateway that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam overran last month. It said troops also fired long-range mortars while patrols went out ahead of the defense lines.