Sri Lanka truce ‘alive’ despite violence

May 1 (AFP) – At least 200 people have been killed in the bloodiest month in Sri Lanka since peacebroker Norway arranged a truce four years ago, but the warring parties say their ceasefire is still holding. Sri Lanka’s government said it was committed to upholding the hugely strained ceasefire even as seven more people were killed in the island’s northeast in mine attacks it blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels.

“The government is still committed to the ceasefire agreement and the Tigers too have said they are committed,” the government’s top official handling the Norwegian-backed peace effort, Palitha Kohona, told AFP.

“But, we are going through certain hiccups at the moment.”

Scandinavian truce monitors, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said the ceasefire was in place despite the escalating violence.

“The ceasefire is still on in technical terms,” SLMM spokeswoman Helen Olafsdottir told AFP. “Until the parties send a letter to the Norwegian foreign minister resigning from the ceasefire, it is valid.”

But she acknowledged that on the ground, “it is not a real ceasefire. There have been far too many incidents of violence.”

Until the end of February, the SLMM held the Tigers responsib