“Anarchy” in Sri Lanka as Tokyo peace envoy set to arrive

May 6, 2006 (AFP) – A Japanese peace envoy was to arrive in Sri Lanka for talks Saturday as Scandinavian monitors said violence between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels was out of control. Tokyo’s special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi was to hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse and would also try to meet leaders of the Tamil Tigers during his four-day visit, the Japanese embassy said.

Despite a four-year ceasefire, more than 200 people have died over the last month in tit-for-tat attacks by government and rebel forces from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who are fighting for a Tamil minority homeland.

“The escalation of violence that’s occurring now is completely out of control,” Helen Olafsdottir, spokeswoman for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission that oversees a four-year-old truce, told AFP.

“There’s anarchy on the ground.”

Saturday saw a rare lull in the attacks.

The only casualty was a soldier wounded when suspected Tamil Tiger gunmen opened fire as he guarded a Tamil newspaper office, the defence ministry said.

The pro-rebel newspaper had been provided with armed guards after unidentified gunmen killed two employees four days earlier.

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