Colombo: Sri Lankan troops arrested
over 1,500 Tamil rebel suspects during July, more than a year
after the separatist guerrilla group was crushed militarily,
the Prime Minister said today.
About half of the suspects were picked up at
government-run shelters where they had taken refuge after the
fighting ended in May last year, Premier D M Jayaratne told
parliament during a debate to extend a state of emergency.
"We need to maintain emergency laws to ensure the
safety and security of the nation," the premier told
Sri Lanka has resisted international calls to end
the state of emergency, saying that Tiger remnants were trying
to regroup and resume their armed campaign for an independent
homeland for the island`s ethnic Tamil minority.
Jayaratne said the government continued to receive
information about Tigers trying to collect weapons and
The United Nations estimate that up to 100,000
people died in the Tigers` independence bid from 1972 till May
The Tigers have launched no attacks since being
defeated, but the government maintains tough anti-terror laws
which are extended every month by parliament.
The opposition accuses the government of using the
emergency laws to stifle political dissent.