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Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

By Jerome Starkey in Lashkar Gar

Monday, 13 July 2009

Their homes have been destroyed, their schools have been closed and all three know friends and family who have been killed in the fighting. Helmand, their homeland, has been transformed in the past 60 years from a beacon of international development into a giant narco-farm controlled by the Taliban. (more…)

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — One of the highest-level European delegations to visit this war-torn country in years has failed to persuade the Sri Lankan government to declare a temporary truce with ethnic Tamil rebels.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa emphatically rejected the appeal Thursday and told Western governments to stop lecturing him, news agencies reported.

“The government is not ready to enter into any kind of cease-fire with the terrorists,” he said. “It is my duty to protect the people of this country. I don’t need lectures from Western representatives,” he said in a speech distributed by his office and quoted by the agencies.

(more…)

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By BBC News

British and French foreign ministers in Sri Lanka have urged the government to halt its military offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in the north.

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the call was not aimed at saving the Tamil rebel leader but the lives of thousands of civilians trapped.

Correspondents say the government is unlikely to agree to a truce.

(more…)

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By BBC News

At least 25,000 civilians have fled a Tamil Tiger-held area in northern Sri Lanka, the military says.

People escaped after troops broke through a fortification which had been blocking their advance into the Tigers’ last stronghold, the army said.

Aerial video showed thousands of people filing out of the combat zone. Tens of thousands remain in the area, which has seen heavy fighting for months.

The government says the rebels must now surrender or face a final assault.

There was no immediate response from the rebels, who have rejected previous calls to surrender. The pro-rebel TamilNet website said several hundred civilians were feared killed and injured after troops advanced into the zone.

(more…)

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By Robert Templer, International Crisis Group

A mass slaughter of civilians will take place Tuesday at noon. And everyone knows it.

The Sri Lankan government has issued a deadline of noon tomorrow for the Tamil Tigers to surrender. With the embattled rebels unlikely to put down their guns before then, only forceful and immediate international action to halt the fighting can prevent the possible deaths of tens of thousands of civilians trapped between the warring parties.

More than 100,000 men, women and children are trapped in a space roughly the size of Central Park, caught up in a war between the Sri Lankan government and the remaining forces of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or Tamil Tigers. Cornered in a shrinking patch of coast in the Northeast of Sri Lanka, with little access to food, water or medicine the past three months, the civilians have remained out of the sight of most of the world. U.N. and humanitarian workers were forced by the government to leave LTTE areas last September; journalists have also been banned from witnessing the unfolding horror.

(more…)

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By Ranga Sirilal, Reuters News
The son and heir apparent to Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has been wounded in a gunbattle with soldiers trying to crush the separatist rebels, the military said on Wednesday.

The battle to end the quarter-century war is centered around 25 square km (10 sq miles) of the Indian ocean island’s northeastern coast, where the army has encircled the Tigers and tens of thousands of civilians trapped there.

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By Sean Rayment
Telegraph

Details obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that between April 2006 to October 2008, the British government made 858 ex-gratia payment to Afghan civilians who either had family members killed or injured in fighting between the Taliban and British troops or whose property had been damaged.

A total of £90,000 has been paid to Afghans who have been injured or the families of those killed in fighting in Helmand. (more…)

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