Sri Lanka restores blood-soaked railway to Tamil heartland

By Amal Jayasinghe  AFP uk.news.yahoo.com

A railway in Sri Lanka that runs through mine-fields and snake-infested jungle is to reopen on Monday, nearly a quarter of a century after a bloody ethnic conflict shut it down.

Trains to the northern peninsula of Jaffna ground to a halt 24 years ago after dozens of passengers were killed in attacks by guerrillas seeking an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils.

The railway was ripped up to make bunkers after a truce between the Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces collapsed and fighting erupted in June 1990.

Five years after the government declared victory in May 2009, the scars of the conflict remain, with bombed-out homes and buildings still visible.

Reopening the railway was a priority to allow reconstruction materials to be brought into the area devastated by years of war and restore a key lifeline to Jaffna which is also the political capital of the northern province. More info

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