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Sri Lanka's chilling 2006 timeline

SL's timeline for 2006 was dominated by everything from assassinations to abductions, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2006 20:03 IST

Sri Lanka's timeline for 2006 is a chilling one dominated as it is by assassinations, attempted assassinations, terrorist massacres, abduction of the young and the old, aerial bombings, artillery duels and massive displacements of innocent civilians.
According to Daily Mirror 954 servicemen, including 221 naval personnel, were killed in the year. The paper put the LTTE's losses at 2097. But the LTTE said it had lost 818. About 250, 000 civilians, mainly Tamils, were displaced. 15,000 Tamil fled to India.   
Jan 3: LTTE's Vavuniya district political wing leader "Major" Jeyanthan killed in Valayankattu in Mannar district.
Jan 7: The LTTE struck at a Sri Lankan naval boat at Trincomalee killing 15 sailors.
Jan 12: Nine navy men killed in a claymore mine attack in Cheddikulam on the Mannar-Madawachchiya road.
Jan 21: 27 LTTE cadres were killed in an explosion in Adampan in Mannar district.
Feb 22: the government and the LTTE began talks in Geneva, on the implementation of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement which was in tatters. Both sides made promises to rectify the faults.
April 10: Canada banned the LTTE. While the government was happy, the LTTE was annoyed.
April 16: The Tigers said that the atmosphere was not conducive to hold the second round of the Geneva peace talks.
April 23: Six Sinhala farmers killed in Gomarankadawala in Trincomalee district, allegedly by the LTTE.
April 25: A daring but unsuccessful bid to assassinate the Sri Lankan Army chief, Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka, inside the Army HQ in Colombo was made allegedly by the LTTE. The bid on Fonseka's life triggered a new phase in the war – the extensive use of the Air Force. In the afternoon of April 25, LTTE-held Sampur in Trincomalee district was bombed from the air killing four civilians.
May 11: LTTE attempted to sink the troop ship "Pearl Cruiser" with 710 on board off Vettrilaikeni in East Sri Lanka. But the Navy foiled the attack. 17 sailors and 50 LTTE cadres were killed in the operation.
May 21: The LTTE's Eastern intelligence chief, Ramanan, was killed in Batticaloa allegedly by the dissident Karuna group.
May 27: Six Sri Lankan tourists, including award winning writer Nihal de Silva, killed in a landmine blast in Wilpattu national park north of Colombo.
May 30: 12 Sinhalas working on an irrigation project in Omadiyamadu in Polannaruwa district bordering Batticaloa, were killed allegedly by the LTTE.
June 8: The second round of peace talks in Geneva floundered because the LTTE's delegation refused to meet the Sri Lankan government's delegation on the grounds that the government had failed to keep the promises made in the first round of talks in February.
June 10: LTTE's Mannar leader "Lt Col". Mahenthi was killed in a claymore mine blast in Mannar.
June 14: 64 bus Sinhala bus passengers, including 15 children, were killed in a claymore mine blast in Kebethigollewa in Polannaruwa district, allegedly set off by the LTTE.
June 26: Maj Gen Parami Kulatunga, Army Dy Chief of Staff, killed by a LTTE suicide bomber in Pannipitiya near Colombo.
July 20: LTTE closed the gates of the Mavil Aaru dam in Trincomalee district, denying water to 20,000 mostly Sinhala farmers. LTTE said that it did so because the government had failed to provide water to Tamil villages.
July 26: Government troops and the Air Force  attacked LTTE installations in Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts.
July 31: 18 Armymen killed in a claymore mine attack on an Army bus in Kantalai in Trincomalee district. 40 LTTE cadres killed in the Kallar area.
Aug 1: LTTE launched an artillery attack on the Trincomalee navy base on August 1, killing five sailors. In a retaliatory air strike over a wide area, 50 LTTE were killed. On the same day, the navy foiled a bid by the LTTE to sink a troop ship with 850 on board outside the Trincomalee harbour.
Aug 2: LTTE attacked the Muslim-majority Mutur town and drove away the Muslims, apparently to secure the jetty and use it to stage an amphibian assault on Trincomalee harbour across the bay.
Aug 4: 15 Tamil aid workers belonging to the French agency "Action Against Hunger" were executed in Mutur allegedly by the returning Sri Lankan troops. The incident touched off international indignation.
Aug 8: Government troops recaptured the Mavil Aaru sluice gates which had been re-opened by the LTTE  earlier.
Aug 11: LTTE began a land and sea invasion of Jaffna, but it had to be given up after the group lost 250 men.
Aug 12: The Tamil Deputy Head of the government Peace Secretariat, Kethesh Loganathan, was shot dead in Colombo, allegedly by the LTTE.
Aug 14: the Air Force bombed an orphanage run by the LTTE in Pudukudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu district, killing 16 kids, on the grounds that it was actually a training school for child soldiers. LTTE said that they were genuine schoolkids getting trained in first aid.  
Sept 2: In a sea battle off Kankesanthurai harbour in Jaffna, the LTTE lost 80 cadres and 12 boats.
Sept 4: Sri Lankan Army retook Sampur.
Sept 17: Air Force and Navy destroyed a LTTE arms ship off Kalmunai in Batticaloa district.
Sept 18: 11 Muslims massacred in Radalla in Amparai district in East Sri Lanka, allegedly by the Special Task Force.
Oct 7: LTTE attacked Kajuwatte and Mankerni army camps in Batticaloa district and blasted Panichchankerni bridge preventing movement of Tamil refugees. 
Oct 11: Sri Lankan Army launched an offensive from Muhamalai in Jaffna in a bid to capture Elephant Pass, the gateway to Jaffna. But the offensive was a costly failure in terms of men and material. On the same day, the LTTE rammed an explosive laden vehicle into a naval convoy killing 98 sailors at Digampatana, near Habarana, in North Central Sri Lanka.
Oct 16: The Supreme Court declared as unlawful, the 1987 merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces to form a single Tamil-dominated North-East province under the India-Sri Lanka Accord. The Tamils were disappointed.
Oct 18: LTTE attacked the Galle naval base in South Sri Lanka, but the attack was beaten back.
Oct 20: Seven LTTE boats were destroyed in a naval battle off Jaffna.
Oct 28: Peace talks began in Geneva, but ended the next day without agreement as the LTTE demanded the re-opening of the A9 highway at Muhamalai which was closed in August for "security reasons". The LTTE said that 600,000 Tamils in Jaffna were facing a severe food shortage because of the blockade, though it refused to allow food movement by sea.
Nov 8: 45 Tamil civilians killed in Vaharai in Batticaloa district by Sri Lankan artillery.   
Nov 10: Pro-LTTE Tamil MP N Raviraj shot dead in Colombo.
Dec 1: A suspected LTTE suicide cadre in a three wheeler made an unsuccessful bid to assassinate Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in Colombo. Government reintroduced tough anti-terrorist measures.
Dec 6: LTTE artillery shelled a Sinhala school in Kallar in Trincomalee district, killing three civilians.
Dec 14: Anton Balasingham, chief negotiator of the LTTE and a political moderate, died in London of cancer.
Dec 15: Dr S Raveendranath, Vice Chancellor of Eastern University at Batticaloa, kidnapped from Colombo.
Dec 18: LTTE abducted 24 schoolchildren from the Vinayagapuram area in East Sri Lanka, but let some of them off later.
Dec 24: LTTE seized a Jordanian merchant vessel Farah III on suspicion but it released the 25 members crew the next day. Government charged the LTTE of piracy.