We were the first international journalists to see the scene of the final days of the fighting.
The tiny spit of land in north-eastern Sri Lanka could be a beach paradise. Instead it is like a vision of hell.
Houses have been destroyed, buses blown up, palm trees devastated, and there are craters in the beach. On the sand I saw row after row of tents.
Sri Lanka's health ministry is investigating three doctors detained by the military on accusations they gave false information about war zone casualties to the media, an official said Saturday...
The U.S. State Department said the doctors "helped save many lives during the conflict and provided some of the only medical support available in the conflict area while caught between the (rebels) and Sri Lankan forces and facing extreme shortages of medical supplies."
"We urge the government to resolve the doctors' cases quickly and release them," the State Department said in a statement.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon toured Sri Lanka's biggest refugee camp Saturday and said the country did not have the resources to deal with the tens of thousands who fled fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels.
Ban told Rajapaksa the U.N. and other international humanitarian agencies needed immediate and unimpeded access to camps that are housing 290,000 people who escaped rebel-held areas as a military onslaught bore down on the separatists.
IT was a desperate last phone call but it did not sound like a man who would be dead within hours. Balasingham Nadesan, political leader of the Tamil Tigers, had nowhere to turn, it seemed.
“We are putting down our arms,” he told me late last Sunday night by satellite phone from the tiny slip of jungle and beach on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka where the Tigers had been making their last stand.
The military yesterday said the body of LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran was cremated in Mullaitivu on Wednesday.
“His body was cremated in Mullaitivu and treated like the body of any other terrorist,” Military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara told the Daily Mirror yesterday.
The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) Director General Lakshman Hulugalle confirmed the report saying: “His body was treated like that of any other terrorist and cremated. That is all we have been informed,” he said.
Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday brushed off calls for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by government troops in their offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels.
In a defiant speech delivered just hours before the arrival of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the president said he was even "ready to go to the gallows" as a consequence of defeating the separatist guerrillas.
Sri Lanka’s government ignored mounting calls Friday by international relief organizations for greater access to the country’s swelling refugee camps, as the military continued to weed out suspected former Tamil Tiger rebels hiding among civilians.
Mr Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told the state-run Independent Television Network the final phase of the operation against the rebels had begun in August 2006.
"Since then the security forces, including the army, navy, the air force, police and the civil defence force, have lost 6,261 personnel killed and 29,551 wounded," Mr Rajapaksa said.
"We made huge sacrifices for this victory."
More than 6,200 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and nearly 30,000 wounded in security forces' final offensive to completely defeat Tamil Tiger separatists, state television reported Friday.
Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, in an interview with state TV, said the final offensive against the Tamil Tigers began in August 2006 with the troops retaking an irrigation canal that was seized by Tigers.
“Sri Lanka has provided a satisfactory service to the people of the north even before it was cleared of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” Athula Kahandaliyanage, secretary to the Health Ministry, said in a statement. “Those who are ignorant of such efforts should at least try to see what is happening at ground level before making irresponsible statements.”