SRI LANKA – Attack raises tension

MEMBERS OF THE Sinhala and Tamil communities have clashed again in eastern Sri Lanka after a grenade attack on a bus earlier this week left one person dead. Police have imposed a curfew on the town of Trincomalee.

Members of both communities took to the streets after the Sinhalas blamed the Tamil Tiger rebels for the attack, which also seriously injured two. At the weekend, the Tigers threatened to return to war unless peace talks based on their plans for self-rule resumed.

According to Trincomalee police chief, Neville Vijaysundra, almost 2,000 security personnel have spread out around the town, reinforcements are expected and police are hoping to avert large-scale clashes between the two communities.

A ceasefire between the two sides has remained largely intact since February 2002, even though the Tigers pulled out of negotiations in April last year, saying the government was not honouring pledges it had made. The Tigers have been fighting for more than two decades for self-government in the north and east, which they consider the Tamil homeland. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the course of the conflict.