Sri Lanka: October 16, 1999


Fighting in the north continued, with the combined death toll nearly 200. 

October 15; The government has apparently launched another major offensive against LTTE held areas in the north. In the past, a division or more of government troops was usually involved, along with much artillery and armed helicopters. The combined death toll so far is nearly 150. A naval action between government gunboats and LTTE supply boats left four government ships damaged and an undetermined number of LTTE boats sunk.

October 14; Fighting in three separate areas of the north left at least 18 government soldiers wounded and nine LTTE fighters dead. 

October 12; Government troops killed four LTTE women fighters in the Wanni region in the north. Two other women escaped, but were apparently injured. No government losses were reported,

October 11; Government troops killed six LTTE guerillas in three different incidents in the north. No government losses were reported.

October 10; The government reported that for the first eight months of this year, 9,736 soldiers were killed or missing and presumed dead.

October 7; Government gunboats attacked an LTTE boat and killed 15 LTTE fighters, including a senior LTTE commander named Nirojan. The group was apparently a commando squad on their way to a mission. The navy has been increasingly aggressive patrolling off the coast to intercept LTTE boats that bring in weapons and equipment from a nearby Tamil province of India, where the LTTE has many supporters. On land, government troops killed seven LTTE fighters in two separate incidents. 

October 6; Sri Lanka plans to spend at least $728 million on defense next year, some 18 percent of the government budget. Defense spending has increased each year as the effort to put down the Tamil rebellion went on and on. The high defense spending has been hurting the economy and discouraging foreign investment.


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