Despite recent military
victories over Tamil rebels, the defense budget is being increased 20 percent
next year, to about $1.5 billion. While the LTTE government along the east
coast has been destroyed destroyed, there are still groups of former LTTE
operatives who continue to live by extorting payments from Tamils and
professing loyalty to the government. These former LTTE rebelled against the
mainline LTTE over a number of issues, but seem determined to remain in control
of the east coast Tamil areas. As a result, the government has had to put more
police and paramilitary troops in east coast areas, just to maintain law and
The fighting continues to cause 30-40 casualties a
day. The losses are largely from patrols clashing, or LTTE attacking troops
advancing into areas previously considered under LTTE control. The army
continues to uncover LTTE weapons and equipment caches. Tamil civilians are
increasingly providing information on where this stuff is hidden.
The navy intercepted two small LTTE smuggling boats
off the north coast. On one boat was a large (seven foot wingspan) remote
control aircraft, apparently to be rigged with a remote camera and used for
gathering information on government forces. Islamic terrorists have been found
using similar methods in Pakistan. Over a dozen radio and GPS units were
also found on the boat.
October 10, 2007: Radio intercepts confirmed that
air strikes and artillery fire killed 69 LTTE operatives who were rehearsing a
ceremony at Pooneryn (in the northeast) on September 25th.
October 7, 2007: The navy destroyed what it
believed was the last large LTTE arms smuggling ship. The 3,000 ton, 220 foot
long vessel was intercepted and sunk 1,700 kilometers off the southeast coast.
When navy gunboats challenged the ship at about 5:30 in the morning, the crew
of about a dozen men opened fire. After about four hours of shooting, the LTTE
vessel sank. The ship was found to be carrying artillery ammunition, radar,
GPS, radios and other electronic gear as well as scuba sets and jet skis. This
ship is believed to be the last large smuggling ship the LTTE
October 6, 2007: There were over 300 casualties
last week, including at least 70 LTTE dead in the north and the east. About
a third of the casualties were government forces. The disproportionate losses
were the result of the army have more artillery and mortar ammunition, and the
air force carrying out more accurate attacks.
September 30, 2007: A
few thousand of the 100,000+ Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in southern India (Tamil
Nadu) have begun returning, mainly to eastern Sri Lanka.