Heavy artillery duel in Vavuniya
Heavy exchange of artillery fire between the army and LTTE cadres broke out last night in the Vavuniya district and continued close to midnight, military sources said.
Military officials said they launched retaliatory attacks around 8 p.m. after an army camp in Pompaimadu, west of the Vavuniya town, came under a barrage of artillery fire from the rebels.
There were no immediate details of casualties from both sides, but one army source said at least two soldiers injured were rushed to the Anuradhapura hospital.
Vavuniya residents said the fighting was heavy. The incident came ahead of a proposed visit by Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi to the Wanni for a meeting with LTTE’s political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan. The Japanse embassy said Mr. Akashi, who would be here on Tuesday on a four-day visit, would meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa and LTTE leaders in the Wanni.
The purpose of the visit has been described as an attempt to look into the possibility of reactivating the peace process. However, the fighting between the LTTE and the government in Vavuniya cast serious doubts about the success of his visit.