Wounded Sri Lanka soldiers wow to fight on

ANURADHAPURA, Sri Lanka, Aug 14, 2006 (AFP) – Lying wounded at a Sri Lankan hospital near an airforce base, Sergeant W.D. Anand is upset the government may renew peace talks with Tamil rebels after fierce battles that cut down many of his men. “I don’t know what they are saying in Colombo. We just want to finish the fighting,” he said, flashing a toothy smile as he showed off his wound to journalists. The 32-year-old army soldier has not seen his two young sons since fighting erupted last month, but says he is prepared to return to the frontline as soon as he is declared fit.

“After I am out of this hospital, I will go straight to duty. We want this war to end for the terrorists to be crushed,” he told AFP at the heavily guarded hospital in Anaradhapura, 180 kilometers (110 miles) from Colombo.

Anand and more than 60 other wounded soldiers were airlifted here after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) engaged them in face-to-face ground battles near the Kilali airforce base in the northern Jaffna peninsula Friday.

The following day, military planes bombed Tiger rebel positions in the fiercest fighting since a 2002 ceasefire, killing 186 people according to the latest official count.

Fighting in Jaffna broke out after