» 05/26/2009, 00.00
Sri Lanka increases military power and excludes Tigers from democratic life
Melani Manel Perera
Gen. Fonseka announces recruitment drive to increase army from 200 thousand to 300 thousand. Army remains on alert for suicide attacks by Tamil Tigers still at large.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) commander general Sarath Fonseka, has announced a recruitment drive to increase the number of soldiers in the army to 300 thousand as a measure to avoid the reorganisation of the Tamil Tiger rebels. Meanwhile the Minister for Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has rejected the LTTE survivor’s statement of their intention to enter into the political life of the nation.
The new campaign would result in their being one soldier for every 66 people, police excluded. Gen. Fonseka says he expects young people to enrole. Despite having eliminated the LTTE supreme leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and crushed LTTE’s armed wing, its political and administrative system, the army is still on maximum alert.
Fonseka says some 22,000 rebel fighters were killed in the last phase of fighting, and adds that since 2006 another 9,000 rebel fighters have surrendered to the army. But the SLA says that one of the LTTE top leaders still remains at large Selvarasa Pathmanathan. Rebel cells are also hiding out in the jungle and the army fears they will be aided by LTTE exiles and sympathisers abroad. Gen. Fonseka adds that there is a high risk of suicide attacks on Sinhalese majority cities in the south of the island.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the BBC, Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has rejected the Tamil Tigers offer to enter a democratic process, saying the rebels could not be trusted to give up terrorism “after years of their violent activities.” G. Rajapaksa maintains that the rights of the Tamil population are already represented by democratic Tamil political parties present in parliament. The Ministers comments follow a BBC interview of May 24th in which Selvarasa Pathmanathan, said the Tamil Tigers would now use non-violent methods to fight for the rights of the Tamils and had agreed to enter a democratic process to archive their aims.
08/01/2010 SRI LANKA
The United Nations: "The video is of tamil executions is authentic"
Philip Alston, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has made a thorough survey to assess the tape aired in England, showing the Sri Lankan army killing the rebels. Colombo: "unfounded allegations, violated diplomacy."
16/05/2008 SRI LANKA
The state must also protect the lives and rights of the minorities
A powerful appeal from the National Peace Council to the authorities, that they safeguard the Tamil minority as well, against violence on the part of unknown groups, but also against abuses by the police. For the important Buddhist feast of Vesak, a call for compassion and respect.
02/03/2009 SRI LANKA
Government plans "villages" for the 200,000 refugees of Vanni
They are being built in the areas of Mannar and Vavunya, and are being equipped with schools, banks, post offices, and health clinics. According to government sources, the refugees will remain there for at least three years. The temporary measures are being taken to allow the army to restore the areas involved in the conflict.
24/05/2011 SRI LANKA
Seminar on fight against terrorism in Colombo
Organised by the military and the government, the seminar will be held from 31 May to 2 June. Global terrorism, reconciliation, resettlement of internal and external displaced people, future trends and nation-building are among the topics discussed. The three-day event will cost 45 million rupees.
28/04/2008 SRI LANKA
Army gives Madhu shrine back to diocese
The military wrests control of the sacred place from the Tamil rebels, and asks for the return of the statue of Our Lady of Madhu. But the bishop of Mannar replies: first solid guarantees must be given that the shrine complex will be declared a "no war zone".
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
18/05/2017 ASIA - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.