Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels have declared a unilateral ceasefire, but it has been immediately rejected by the government.
With the rebels surrounded by the army, along with thousands of civilians, the government says the Tamil Tigers must surrender or be destroyed.
The Sri Lankan defence secretary is quoted as saying a ceasefire is not needed and the rebels’ declaration is a joke. “They were not fighting with us, they were runing from us,” he is quoted as saying.
There is international concern about the safety of civilians caught up in the fight between the Tamil Tigers and government troops.
The UN has sent its top humanitarian official to the country to push for more protection for civilians.