December 20, 1999 |
In Asia's bloodiest and longest-running war, the fighting doesn't halt for the casting of ballots. A spectacular suicide bomb attack here at a weekend campaign rally in advance of Tuesday's presidential election failed to kill the country's leader but underlined a larger point: After 16 years and 61,000 deaths, the country's savage ethnic war hasn't even begun to exhaust itself.
December 12, 1999 |
In the government's first military success since a major rebel offensive last month, Sri Lankan troops repulsed a land-and-sea attack Saturday by hundreds of Tamil rebels. Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Sunil Tannekoon said 230 rebels and eight soldiers were killed in the fighting near a strategic northern military base. Afterward, the military reinforced its positions there, Tannekoon said. "We are fully prepared to face any new threat," he said.
November 21, 1999 |
Artillery shells fell around an ancient Dutch-built church filled with refugees in northern Sri Lanka, killing at least 35 villagers and injuring 80, amid fighting between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels, a church official said. Bishop Raiaippu Joseph said more than 3,500 people had taken shelter in the church compound to escape the fighting. Sri Lankan troops had launched an offensive to retake parts of the Madhu church area that rebels had seized.
November 6, 1999 |
Army helicopters and buses carried hundreds of Sri Lankan soldiers to the northern front lines, a senior officer said, as the military struggled to hold off a major rebel offensive. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which is seeking an independent state, captured a broad stretch of territory in the island nation's northern jungles. The army has abandoned post after post, and hundreds of soldiers have been killed or have disappeared in surrounding jungles.
November 4, 1999 |
Tamil rebels overran several military posts in northern Sri Lanka, killing hundreds of soldiers, a senior army official said. The official did not know the exact number of soldiers killed but said about 600 were either dead, wounded or missing. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam breached the government's front lines near the town of Oddusudan, 155 miles northeast of Colombo, the capital, and the official said they had seized one town and were shelling another.
September 18, 1999 |
Tamil Tiger rebels attacked three villages in southeastern Sri Lanka today, massacring at least 47 Sinhalese villagers, authorities said. About 50 people were injured, police said. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fighters attacked the villages, mostly inhabited by Sinhalese, before dawn. The rebels demand a separate homeland, accusing the Sinhalese majority of oppressing the Tamil minority.
June 19, 1999 |
Wailing mothers and sobbing fathers filed past scraps of clothing and two human skeletons displayed on tables in a police station Friday to determine if the remains belonged to about 300 people who disappeared while in military custody. The skeletons--one blindfolded and bound--were exhumed Thursday at a site in northern Sri Lanka where a former soldier said he helped bury bodies in mass graves. The remains will be sent to experts for further examination. The skeletons were identified as R.S.
October 1, 1998 |
Sri Lanka's military claimed a major battlefield prize Wednesday, but reports of the staggering cost of the victory--nearly 1,400 soldiers and Tamil rebels dead--underlined how difficult it will be for either side to win their 15-year war. The battle occurred along a strategic highway that links Colombo, the capital, to the government-held northern town of Jaffna.
September 29, 1998 |
Fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels has left 237 combatants dead in the past two days, the military said. "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has confirmed 194 of their cadres [were] killed," the military said in a statement Monday. Forty-three soldiers were killed and 110 wounded in the fighting. The fighting began Sunday morning when Tamil Tiger rebels attacked soldiers near the military-controlled town of Paranthan.
June 6, 1998 |
Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels claimed to have killed at least 100 soldiers in the latest fighting in northern Sri Lanka, and army officers said more than 400 soldiers were wounded. President Chandrika Kumaratunga ordered that all news reports on Sri Lanka's civil war be cleared by military censors. Earlier, the guerrillas' clandestine radio said they had lost 20 fighters as they beat back a government offensive Thursday.