Attacks to intensify, Sri Lanka rebel front warns
The Tamil Resurgence Force, which first emerged in December, is one of a clutch of groups the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.Updated: Jun 10, 2006 13:34 IST
A suspected Tamil Tiger front organisation vowed on Saturday to intensify attacks against Sri Lanka's military amid growing fears that the island is sliding back into civil war.
The Tamil Resurgence Force, which first emerged in December and is one of a clutch of groups the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) say have rallied to their cause, said it would also attack Tamil government allies.
The threat comes two days after the rebels plunged diplomatic efforts to salvage the peace process into crisis by refusing to hold talks in Oslo and demanding that truce monitors from European Union nations withdraw in protest at the LTTE's inclusion on an EU list of terrorist groups.
"All this while we reduced our activities and our attacks due to the ongoing GCE A-level examinations," the Tamil Resurgence Force said in a statement.
"Now that the exams are almost coming to an end, we would be intensifying our attacks on the military and EPDP in a few days' time.
Hence we request the public not to unnecessarily move around on the roads and to avoid any movements close to military installations."
The EPDP is a former paramilitary group opposed to the Tigers, which joined the political mainstream and now has a cabinet minister, but analysts say militant members are involved in attacks on the rebels and their supporters.
The Tigers said on Friday they remained committed to the 2002 ceasefire despite a rash of attacks and deadly ambushes that have killed dozens of servicemen.
But around 600 people, half of them civilians, have been killed so far this year in what analysts say are apparent tit-for-tat attacks by both sides, and many diplomats fear a low intensity conflict is set to escalate.
"All these people, those who are attacking the security forces in Jaffna, have been trained by the Tigers," said military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe.
"If they have been given military training by the Tigers, they are under their organisation. They are terrorists."
On Friday the pro-rebel website www.tamilnet.com posted grisly photographs of a family of four the Tigers and the army accuse each other of butchering in the northwestern district of Mannar, including the bloody corpses of two children hanged from ceiling beams.
In the army-held northern enclave of Jaffna, which is hemmed in by a heavily-guarded border with the Tigers' de facto state in the north, shootings and grenade attacks now occur almost daily and residents live in constant fear.
"Today's statement by the Tamil Resurgence Force means there will be more attacks. Then there will be more killings," said conflict-weary Jaffna grocery store owner Vettivel Sasikanthan, wearing a traditional sarong.
He and his family have already been displaced twice by the two-decade civil war -- forced to flee Jaffna in 1995 and then again in 2000, leaving a once prosperous business behind him.
Cooking oil and diesel are in short supply because of border closures, the price of sugar has risen 30 percent in a month and construction work has ground to a halt because hundreds of lorries transporting cement and iron rods have been held up in government territory.
"Only after there is total normalcy can we live in peace. Until then every Jaffna citizen has to live in fear," the 50-year-old added.
First Published: Jun 10, 2006 13:34 IST