[UPDATE: SAJA webcast on this topic is coming Monday evening, Jan. 5, 10-11 pm New York time - that's Tuesday morning 8:30-9:30 am. You can set an e-mail reminder for yourself here:
Breaking news from Sri Lanka about the decades-old civil war. Government forces say they have captured the rebel capital, Kilinochchi. There is no independent confirmation yet.
Help us cover this story, please. Post news links, updates in the comments section. We also want names and contacts for experts on the situation. Please post those, too. Or e-mail saja[at]columbia.edu.
Given the news of the war in Gaza at the same time, the American media isn't likely to pay much attention to this conflict - your updates can help get the word out about what's happening.
Sri Lanka on Friday announced the capture of the de facto rebel capital, dealing at least a serious symbolic blow to the ethnic Tamil separatists’ ambition to create a homeland of their own. Within hours, in an apparent reprisal, a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle attacked the Sri Lankan Air Force headquarters in Colombo, killing two.
The military is now targeting the port town of Mullaitivu and other rebel strongholds in the north, as it seeks to deliver a knockout blow to end the island's 25-year separatist war in which more than 70,000 people have been killed.
At least three people were injured and several vehicles damaged in an explosion on Saturday in the commercial quarter of Colombo, the second in the capital in two days.
Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara blamed rebels for the attack which he said was an attempt to scare people or to show that Colombo was not secure.
"A small IED (Improvised Explosive Device) fixed underneath of a van exploded and three people injured," Nanayakkara said.
There has been no direct comment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on the fall of Kilinochchi, long the center of the rebels fight for an independent homeland for the Tamil minority.
The Sri Lankan war was #3 on Time's list of the "Top 10 Underreported News Stories" of 2008. "The Sri Lankan conflict deadlier this year than Afghanistan," the magazine said.
Track the story here:
- Google News - "Sri Lanka" search
- BBC - main Lanka story
- CNN - Kilinochchi topic page
- GlobalVoicesOnline.org - bloggers network, Sri Lanka category
- BBC country profile | timeline | South Asia editor: "Truth, Bias and the BBC"
- CNN Explainer: Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers
- Economist.com Country Briefing
- Asia Society photo essay by Ron Haviv: "The Fires Within"
Help us cover this story, please. Post news links, updates in the comments section.
We also want names and contacts for experts on the situation. Please post those, too. Or e-mail saja[at]columbia.edu.