B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: The Sri Lanka military on Saturday claimed that at least 17 cadres of the LTTE and three soldiers were killed in continued fighting along the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) in the north in the last 24 hours even as the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) made it known that its situation report no longer represented the ground realities.

Implied in the latest weekly report of the SLMM is the suggestion that the conflict in the north has escalated and it was no longer in a position to report all the incidents. Because of shortage of monitors and the escalation in conflict, since March, the SLMM has suspended rulings on cease-fire violations.

The Monitoring Mission said that the November 2 death of the LTTE political wing chief, S.P. Thamilchelvan in an air strike could only contribute to even further escalation of the conflict.

The Mission said the security situation in Vavuniya worsened considerably during the week (up to November 4) and there is a fear of escalation. In Jaffna, the SLMM said, some of the main political parties have closed down their activities and they will most likely not be resumed in the nearest future.