Sri Lanka: LTTE Death Watch

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October 15, 2008:  Some 330 kilometers north of the capital, the army offensive has stalled about two kilometers outside the LTTE capital of Kilinochchi. To the east and west, troops continue to advance along the coasts. So far this year, the LTTE has lost about 7,500 dead, and the army about 750. Nearly a quarter million civilians have fled the fighting, or areas controlled by the LTTE (to escape conscription of their men and teenagers into the LTTE combat forces.) The army is apparently taking the path of least resistance, advancing where the opposition is weakest, while using their artillery and air power to hit the growing concentrations of LTTE fighters around Kilinochchi.

In the southern India state of Tamil Nadu (where Sri Lankan Tamils originally came from), local politicians have decided to back the LTTE big time. This is mainly because the plight of the many Tamil refugees, from the fighting in Sri Lanka, is a hot topic with the Tamil Nadu media. The current head of the Tamil Nadu government has long been pro-LTTE, and is using Tamil nationalism to consolidate his political power in Tamil Nadu. But efforts to force the Indian government to shift their support to the LTTE will fail. It's all political theater. The LTTE is calling in all its political favors in a desperate effort to stop the Sri Lankan military offensive. But nothing appears capable of halting the campaign, and the LTTE is doomed. It's only a matter of time (weeks or months).

In two recent cases, nearly 500 pounds of explosives disappeared from a police warehouse. It's suspected that corrupt police are selling the explosives to terrorists, or incompetent police can't guard a warehouse. Either way, the heat is on for an investigation and some changes. Corrupt cops have long been a problem.

The army commando patrols into LTTE territory continue to cause casualties and lower morale for the rebels. But the main benefit of the patrols is information. For example, the patrols are finding sites where the LTTE is building new bunker lines, and getting the data to the air force, which then attacks the location, disrupting the construction, and damaging construction equipment.

October 14, 2008: In the north, police found six pounds of explosives and detonators in the offices of a UN affiliated NGO. An employee of the NGO was arrested in connection with the explosives find.

October 13, 2008: In a tourist area 150 kilometers east of the capital, police arrested a Tamil school teacher, who was caught with two ounces of military explosive and a detonator.

October 9, 2008: Outside the capital, a woman suicide bomber ran towards a convoy carrying the Minister of Agriculture and detonated her explosives. She died, as did one person in the convoy, while six people in the convoy were wounded. The minister survived. The LTTE did not claim responsibility, but no one else on the island uses these tactics.

 

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