Sri Lanka Civilians, Tamil Tiger Leaders Trapped in Combat Zone

By Patrick Donahue and Debarati Roy

April 25 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan government forces kept up their campaign to crush the Tamil Tiger rebels as thousands of civilians remained trapped in the combat zone in the island- nation’s north, along with two top rebel leaders.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is carrying out an evacuation of the sick and wounded, said ICRC spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne. The Sri Lankan military said Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and intelligence chief Pottu Amman are still in the country’s northeast.

“The humanitarian situation is nothing short of catastrophic,” Wijeratne said yesterday in a telephone interview from near the capital, Colombo. Almost 6,500 civilians have been killed in fighting in the north in the past three months, the Associated Press cited a United Nations document as saying yesterday.

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Peacenik just arrived at work after stopping by the Tamil Tiger protest on University Ave. in Toronto. It is raining and the number of protesters has dwindled to about 100 but Peacenik asssumes re-enforcements will arrive as the day progresses. The protest is going on in front of the U.S. Consulate and is closing one of Toronto's major north/south streets. This is the third day in a row the protesters have been on the street, non-stop.

There is also a very large and intimidating police presence. Police in full riot gear, with facemasks. Police on horse. Police on bike. Police on foot.

Peacenik confesses Peacenik has not followed the Sri Lankan civil war very closely. But Peacenik also thinks someone must have some leverage on both parties in the civil war to force some kind of settlement. Are there just too many problems in the world that no one can be bothered with the Sri Lankan civil war? Is there a right and wrong side in the civil war? Peacenik doesn't know, but Peacenik wishes the protesters all the best and hopes violence in Sri Lanka will end soon. It is time the international community helped negotiate a peaceful end to the Sri Lankan civil war.