B. Muralidhar Reddy
One killed as Tigers' boats explode
Attack team was in five vessels Mob attacks in Galle reported Situation under control, says Colombo
Colombo: Sri Lanka on Tuesday "repulsed" an attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on the Galle harbour and Sri Lanka Navy camp Dakshina in the tourist town in the south. It asserted that it would not be deterred by such acts in the run up to the October 28 and 29 talks with the Tamil Tigers.
In a statement, the military said five "sea tiger" suicide boats, disguised as fishing boats, arrived to attack Dakshina at 7.45 a.m.
"The Navy destroyed three suicide boats and the other two approached the Galle harbour and detonated at the entrance. One sailor was killed and 11 were injured. One sailor is missing in action. The situation has been brought under control," it said.
A fall-out of the incident was the reported mob attacks in the town on select establishments and shops.
The Government was at pains to emphasise that situation was under control and there was no reason to panic.
Claims of damage
TamilNet said a 15-member team entered Dakshina in five vessels and attacked four Sri Lankan naval vessels and installations.
"At least three explosive-laden attack vessels attacked naval crafts, including a tsunami damaged sub chaser, used as a patrol ship, and destroyed a Fast Attack Craft and two water jet inshore patrol vessels anchored in the port base ... Sinhala mob looted around 20 shops owned by Tamils in the JVP stronghold port city," it said.
"For resolving problem"
Defence spokesperson and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told presspersons that the Government was determined to hold talks not to "please" the LTTE, but as an effort to resolve the ethnic problem.
Reiterating their commitment to the proposed talks, LTTE's political head Thamilchelvan told TamilNet on Wednesday: "Colombo, as the party that launched offensive military operations and continued air-strikes in Tamil territories, even after the renewed peace hopes, should come forward to cease all offensive acts and allow truce monitors access demarcated front lines to ensure cessation of hostilities."
Meets Japanese team
Mr. Thamilchelvan earlier in the day met a Japanese delegation, headed by Special Envoy Yasushi Akashi at the LTTE political headquarters in Kilinochchi. The latest attack came even as the country is yet to recover from the attack near Habarana two days ago. The attack claimed the lives of 130 Navy personnel injured 100.
Special envoys of Japan and Norway are here to persuade the Government and the LTTE to resume talks.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian Affairs Richard Boucher is arriving here on a two-day visit on October 19.