Sri Lanka warns of imminent major rebel attack

July 7th, 2008 - 7:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, July 7 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government Monday warned the public to be vigilant against a possible major attack by Tamil Tiger guerrillas “in the next two days”. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told reporters that intelligence agencies had said that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could undertake the attack in the next two days.

“We have received information and it is our duty to protect the state institutions,” Abeywardena told reporters.

However, trade union leaders dismissed the warning as a ploy to disrupt the scheduled one-day strike called by them later this week.

The leftwing People’s Liberation Front (JVP), backed by the main opposition United National Party, has given a call for a strike July 10 to protest the high cost of living and other issues.

The government maintained that the trade unions must not organise strikes at a time when the government has reached a decisive stage of its military campaign against the Tamil Tigers.

The police claimed that public cooperation was needed to protect civilians in view of threats from the LTTE.

The police said the rebels might try to disrupt life in the south of the island in view of the provincial elections in the North Central province and the southeastern Sabaragamuva province scheduled on Aug 23.

After taking control of the entire eastern province from the LTTE in July 2007, the troops are currently battling the LTTE in the north.

The LTTE has been fighting against the government since the mid-1980s to establish an independent homeland for the country’s minority Tamils. The campaign has left some 70,000 people dead.

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