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Sri Lanka  Concerned About Possible Rebel Attack


Sri Lanka's president has expressed fears Tamil rebels could be getting ready for war and that the government might be ill-equipped to deal with a surprise rebel attack.

Spokesman Harim Peiris told reporters Wednesday President Chandrika Kumaratunga believes the rebel group LTTE is once again preparing for war.

The spokesman said a series of recent events, including the murders of military informants and continued recruiting efforts by the rebels, was similar to a pattern of activities in 1995, when the rebels suddenly broke a ceasefire and resumed hostilities.

He repeated Ms. Kumaratunga's earlier statement that the military's stockpile of ammunition would last only about 10 days in the event of a rebel attack on the northern Jaffna Peninsula.

Tuesday, the chief rebel spokesman Anton Balasingham said his group could resume stalled peace talks as soon as the government makes a proposal for an interim administration in the Tamil-dominated region of the island.

Two months ago, the rebels rejected a government proposal, saying they want greater power in the planned interim administration.

Tamil Tiger rebels representing the country's ethnic minority group have been fighting to secede from Sri Lanka for 20 years.