‘Undeclared war’ in Jaffna taking its toll on Sri Lankans

JAFFNA, Sri Lanka, July 2, 2006 (AFP) – Roadside killings and night-time knocks on the door have replaced mortars and suicide bombs as the new terror in this northern Sri Lankan city. And it is increasingly the residents here who suffer, many say, as the government and Tamil separatist groups carry out a vicious “undeclared war” that targets civilians more than it does guerrillas or soldiers.

“Anything can happen at any time,” M. V. Kanamylnathan, chief editor of the Tamil-language newspaper Uthayan, told AFP from his offices.

“It is like a volcano — people go about their daily lives and it is unseen but it can erupt at any time to do as much damage as possible,” he said.

Just two months ago gunmen stormed the Uthayan building, killing two and wounding several others in an attack that has yet to be accounted for.

With the national truce unravelling amid daily violence and peace monitors virtually crippled by Tamil Tiger demands to lessen their presence, Sri Lanka is again veering dangerously close to open warfare.

Since December 825 people have died in military operations or tit-for-tat killings across the island in a surge of violence.

But the killings and d