Rebels label Rajapakse`s call to surrender weapons a joke

Tamil rebels today rejected a call from Sri Lanka`s President to surrender their arms, as the military announced it killed 27 insurgents.

Colombo, Nov 17: Tamil rebels today rejected a call from Sri Lanka's President to surrender their arms, as the military announced it killed 27 insurgents.
"He must be joking," the rebels' top military spokesman, Rasiah Ilanthirayan, told today from rebel headquarter in Kilinochchi in the north, reacting to President Mahinda Rajapakse's call during a speech in Parliament a day before.

Rajapakse urged the rebels to renounce violence,
surrender their arms, and "work toward promoting peace,
democracy and development in the interest of building a new
Sri Lanka."

Separately, Sri Lankan military spokesman Brig Prasad
Samarasinghe today said its soldiers killed 27 rebels in
eastern Sri Lanka in four separate incidents yesterday.
Ilanthirayan denied the reported rebel casualties, but
acknowledged that there had been artillery fire from Sri
Lankan military in eastern Batticaloa district.

"We have checked with our military commanders and they
denied that there were any casualty on our side," Ilanthirayan
said. "It is possible that civilians have been hit and
killed." He said.

The fighting occurred yesterday in Batticaloa
district, said the Sri Lankan military spokesman, noting that
rebels' weapons and communications sets were recovered from
the area, suggesting that no civilians were involved.
the call for rapprochement came from Rajapakse, who
was presenting his administration's annual budget for 2007,
which has a sharp 45 per cent increase in defence spending.

Bureau Report

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