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The BBC's Mike Wooldridge reports from Colombo
The war has been dominating all other events
 real 28k

Friday, 6 October, 2000, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Sri Lankan leader's war pledge
Sri Lankan army tank
The war is the main issue in the elections
With just days to go before general elections in Sri Lanka, President Chandrika Kumaratunga has vowed to crush Tamil rebels on the battlefield.


"From now on, it is no holds barred to the military campaign."


President Kumaratunga
Speaking to journalists in Colombo, she said: "The LTTE (Tamil Tigers) has left us with no alternative but to continue the war to a successful conclusion."

She said the army had already begun a major drive against the Tigers, and her military commanders has assured her that the rebels could be defeated soon.

"From now on, it is no holds barred to the military campaign."

She also said her ruling People's Alliance would press ahead with a devolution package which, it is hoped, may end the long-running conflict by offering greater autonomy to Tamil areas.

"This is going to be the last chance for peace," she said of the vote next Tuesday.

Fresh fighting

Further fighting was reported on Friday between the army and Tamil rebels in the north of the country.

Sri Lankan government soldier
Fighting is continuing in the north
Military spokesman, Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne, was quoted by Reuters as saying that more than 100 Tamil Tigers had attacked government lines at Nagarkovil in the Jaffna peninsula on Thursday night.

"The attack was repulsed very effectively," he said.

The southernmost part of the peninsula has been the scene of fierce fighting in the past couple of weeks, with each side trying to regain territory.

Bomb blast

The death toll in a bomb attack on Thursday has now risen to 11.

The attack took place in the town of Medawachchi, some 230 km north of the capital Colombo, at an election rally by the ruling party.

A junior minister was addressing supporters when the bomb went off. He was unhurt.

Funeral of poll violence victim
Observers have voiced concern over poll violence
The attack has been condemned by Amnesty International.

"We are very concerned for the escalation of attacks ahead of 10 October elections," an Amnesty International spokeswoman said.

Election monitors have also expressed concern about the increase in violent attacks during the campaign.

More than 50 people have been killed in election-related attacks in the past month and more than 1,000 cases of violence, believed to be connected to the election, have been reported since campaigning began.

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See also:

05 Oct 00 | South Asia
Sri Lanka election rally blast
10 Jul 00 | South Asia
Olive branch to Tamil Tigers
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