Sri Lanka: October 21, 1999


The coalition running Sri Lanka has fallen apart and new elections are to be held. This may put a halt on the recent aggressive campaigns against the Tamil separatists. Sri Lanka president Kumaratunga  wants to try and obtain a two thirds legislative majority so she can change the constitution to provide the options needed to strike a deal with the Tamil community (if not with the LTTE.)

October 20; Troops killed four LTTE guerillas in four separate incidents.

October 19; Troops killed four LTTE guerillas and lost one of their own in several separate incidents.

October 18; Indian police captured Ashwin Naik, a former civil engineer with criminal connections, as he tried to flee the country. He reportedly gave Indian police information on a network of LTTE (Sri Lanka rebel) drug shipments that stretch all the way to Nepal and Kashmir.--Stephen V Cole

October 18; LTTE fighters attacked a government position in the north manned by police and killed eight policeman and injured 13 others.  When the army launches major operations against the LTTE, it often calls in police to watch relatively quiet portions of the front.

October 17; Fighting in the north has killed nearly 300 on both sides in the last few days. The army has lost at least 40 dead and nearly 400 wounded, largely from extensive LTTE use of mortars and artillery. Most of the fighting has been on land, but a naval engagement between government gunboats and LTTE supply craft. The government offensive has been making progress, even the LTTE admit that government troops have taken several of their fortified positions. British experts have also confirmed that the LTTE is indeed using ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles), apparently Russian designed AT4. But these missiles are manufactured in a number of countries, including Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and Iran. The British experts hired by the government believe they can identify the country of manufacture. This will not necessarily enable the government to stop AT4s from getting to the LTTE, for the illegal arms trade has expanded enormously since the end of the Cold War. Especially in eastern Europe, large quantities of surplus weapons were stolen or illegally sold into the black market. 


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