Sri Lanka President says rebels facing ban

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse here Monday warned the Tamil Tiger rebels that they would face a proscription unless they released all civilians who are kept against their will.


    Rajapakse warned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels that they ought to allow freedom of movement to all Tamil civilians.


    "They will face a ban and all other consequences if they failed to do so by the dawn of the New Year," Rajapakse said when addressing a gathering at the Presidential Secretariat.


    Sri Lanka banned the Tigers in January 1998 and lifted the proscription in 2002 to facilitate the Norwegian-backed peace process.


    The government troops and the rebels are currently engaged in a bloody military campaign in the north. Some 230,000 civilians are trapped in the fighting zone.


    The government created a humanitarian corridor for the civilians to leave the battle zone. But the rebels with a strict pass system holding them on, the government said.


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