Tamil Tiger rebels attacked Sri Lankan troops with heavy artillery today, the military said, a day after the top Tamil Tiger leader declared a 2002 ceasefire “defunct,” suggesting the insurgents would renew their violent struggle for an independent Tamil homeland.
The government reacted sharply to the threat and spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella said the government has asked peace broker Norway and European ceasefire monitors to find out if the rebels have officially withdrawn from the ceasefire.
Rebel spokesman, Daya Master, confirmed that officials from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission were meeting with rebels’ leadership in the insurgents’ stronghold of Kilinochchi. But he had no immediate details. Rambukwella issued a veiled warning of military retaliation.
“Our armed forces will act to safeguard national security,” he told a news conference.
He, however, said the government was committed to a peaceful solution of the Tamil issue with the rebels demanding an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s 3.1 million Tamils who largely live in the north-east.
“We are still keeping the window open,” he said of the possibility of peace talks.