Tamil detainee at Vavuniya prison dies

A Tamil detainee at Vavuniya prison died at the local hospital yesterday. Kesavan Sasikumar, aged 41, had been receiving treatment for ill health. He was arrested for alleged drugs smuggling.

Militarisation: troops mark Thai Pongal in Mullaitivu temple

Despite calls to end their involvement in civilian life in the Tamil homeland, Sri Lankan troops held a Thai Pongal service at Oddusuddan temple on January 15. Uniformed personnel from the 59th, 64th and 68th Divisions arranged the event and gave food and snacks to locals.

TID arrests Akkaraipattu deputy mayor

Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) has arrested the deputy mayor of Akkaraipattu Municipal, Abdul Gaffoor Asmy on January 16. Asmy was reportedly arrested for failing to comply with a TID arrest warrant. Unverified reports suggest the TID was investigating him following an anonymous letter they received linking him to Islamic State and over his failure to repay debts.

Families of disappeared representative to join Mannar mass grave analysis team to US

The Mannar court has granted permission for a representative of the families of the disappeared to accompany a team transporting bone samples from the Mannar ‘sathosa’ mass grave for analysis in the USA. Following a petition filed by families of the disappeared, the Mannar magistrates court ruled that a representative of the families should be included in the team. Samples of bones from the mass grave, where over 300 skeletons have been excavated, will be taken to the US for carbon dating next week.

French govt to meet with SL over boat migration to Reunion

The French government is to meet with Sri Lankan authorities to clamp down on boat migration to Réunion, the Indian Ocean island which forms an overseas department and region of France. In ten months, four boats from Sri Lanka have landed at Réunion carrying a total of 80 migrants. Some have been returned. In the French Senate on Thursday, the senator for Réunion questioned the government on the issue and said, “beyond the human tragedy, the opening of this new migration route to Reunion is causing great concern among the population." The Interior Minister’s secretary of state said that...

Rajapaksa assumes duties as opposition leader

The former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa today assumed duties as a Opposition Leader, despite calls from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to not to allow him to take up the post. Rajapaksa commenced his duties following a religious ceremony with Buddhist monks. The TNA had said the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) “cannot be considered as a party in Opposition since the Leader of the UPFA is the Head of Government and the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers” and wrote to the European Union, the Commonwealth, the UN Secretary-General and the heads of Foreign Missions in Colombo over the issue.

Sri Lankan military plans new army camp in Batticaloa

Almost ten years since the end of the armed conflict, Sri Lanka's military is planning to build a new army camp in Batticaloa, despite international calls for it to reduce its size and deployment in the Tamil homeland. The camp will fall under the Eravur divisional secretariat and will host the Punnakkudaa Thalavaai GS Division. Fifty acres were allocated to the army by the Land Reform Commission following a surveying visit yesterday. Muslim residents have opposed the plans, calling on the authorities and Muslim politicians to halt it. The plans were reportedly approved by the former Eastern...

TID warns former LTTE cadre against commemorating fallen

Sri Lanka's Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) has warned former LTTE cadre of the 'Rehabilitated Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam Party' against commemorating fallen cadre. The party leader, Kanthasamy Inbarasa told reporters at a press conference yesterday at the Jaffna Press Club that the TID had issued a written warning.

Sri Lankan soldiers finish course at British military school despite concerns of rights abuses

Photograph: Forces Network Sri Lankan soldiers have finished a course at a British military school this week, becoming the first Sri Lankan women to graduate from the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, UK, despite concerns about rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan troops.

Sri Lankan army to release farms in Mullaitivu

The Sri Lankan army has announced that it will release three army farms in Mullaitivu. The army said in a press release on Wednesday that a total of 1201.88 acres of state and private land, including Nachchikuda, Vellankulam and Udayarkattukulam army farms - totalling 120 acres - would be released next Monday. The release would also cover 972 acres of state land in Kilinochchi, 46.11 acres of state land in Jaffna and Vanni, and 63.77 acres of private land in. Jaffna and Vanni, the army said. While the army said the release was in line with the Sri Lankan president's directive, residents in...