Saturday, January 07, 2006

Another crisis looming in 1st week of 2006

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- A nearly 4-year-old cease-fire between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels is coming under pressure after at least 13 sailors were killed when an explosives-laden boat rammed into a Sri Lankan navy vessel early Saturday.
The 24-foot navy vessel sank shortly after the explosion, which happened shortly after midnight. All 15 sailors on board were initially presumed dead, but fisherman found two survivors clinging to wreckage shortly after sunrise Saturday morning.
The incident took place off the northeastern port city of Trincomalee, five days after five students were killed by the Sri Lankan military. Shops, banks and government offices have been closed to protest those killings.President Mahinda Rajapakse has ordered a probe into the incident.Saturday's suicide bombing was the second attack on the Sri Lankan navy in the past month. In December, 13 sailors were killed in a bomb attack in the western seaboard town of Mannar.
Saturday's attack was the latest in a series against government troops by suspected rebels, who are campaigning for a homeland for Sri Lanka's 3.2 million ethnic minority Tamils.
The Associated Press reported that the pro-rebel Web site, TamilNet, noted the incident but did not mention casualties or who was responsible for the attack.