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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:43, January 02, 2006
Sri Lanka appoints special panel to probe northern violence
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A special presidential panel has been appointed to look into the incidents of violence which gripped the country's Northern Province during December, a state television news broadcast here said Sunday.

The government owned Independent Television Network (ITN) said that the three-member panel is to be headed by the Secretary to the president Lalith Weeratunga and two other senior bureaucrats.

ITN said the committee would travel to the northern city of Jaffna on Thursday to meet with parties to the conflict situation which prevailed there since the beginning of December.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were responsible for three separate claymore mine attacks against the government troops in Jaffna, said the government.

Yet another explosion in Mannar, another northern town added with the explosions in Jaffna caused the deaths of 40 soldiers and sailors belonging to the government troops in December.

In another clash in Jaffna's main university between the Army and the students, scores were admitted to hospital with injuries.

The clashes have raised war fears and prompted the international truce monitors to state that if unchecked the violence could make the country return to the separatist war.

President Mahinda Rajapakse who was narrowly elected president in the November presidential election is keen to start the process of negotiations with the LTTE than opting for a military solution to the conflict.

The presidential sources said that the appointment of his secretary Weeratunga to head the panel reflected the seriousness of Rajapakse's approach to the growing rate of murders and violence.

The fighting ceased in February 2002 when Rajapakse's political rival, Ranil Wickremesinghe who was then the prime minister entered the Norwegian backed peace deal with the Tigers after more than two decades of ethnic separatist conflict.

Source: Xinhua

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