Fighting intensifies between Tamil Tigers rebels and Sri Lanka
More than 10 children were killed Tuesday when their school bus was ambushed.
Violence has surged in Sri Lanka following the government's decision at the beginning of the year to declare null and void the 2001 cease-fire with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), sending an ominous sign about the level of violence the country may confront this year.Skip to next paragraph
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The Tamil Tigers said Tuesday that some dozen children were also killed when their school bus was ambushed by government troops. A pro-rebel website, tamilnet.com, said that a "Deep Penetrating Unit" of the Sri Lankan Army carried out the mine attack against the bus.
The military denied involvement. "Whatever has happened, the LTTE is responsible for it. The Sri Lankan Army will never resort to an act such as targeting school-children," said an Army spokesperson.
"It had been widely predicted that '2008 would be the year of war for Sri Lanka.' The current escalation of violence since 1 January supports those fears."
"Sri Lanka's air force bombed Tamil Tiger positions in the far north while ground battles killed 14 rebels and a government soldier on Monday, taking the death toll in three days of fighting to 94, the military said."
The violence signals the official collapse of a 2001 Norwegian brokered cease-fire. Fighting had picked up again in 2005, leaving more than 5,000 dead and internally displacing 200,000 people in two years.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued an appeal, saying that the United Nations Security Council should intervene in the deteriorating situation. The rights' groups criticized the conduct of both rebel and government forces.
"With the resumption of heavy fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and government forces, deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians are taking place in violation of international humanitarian law. With these escalating threats to the safety of civilians, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are calling on the Human Rights Council to take action by demanding that the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE improve the protection of civilians."