Sri Lanka: December 16, 1999

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An LTTE offensive in the north continued to put pressure on three government bases in the Elephant Pass area (guarding the entrance to the Jaffna peninsula.)

December 15; Fighting died down in the north, but the army warned that the LTTE seemed ready to resume their offensive. The fighting in the Elephant Pass region has left 508 dead in the last few days. Of that number, 28 were government troops.

December 14; The recent fighting has caused both the army and LTTE to scramble for new recruits. The army can only take those 18 and older, the LTTE will take younger teenagers. The fighting was still intense in the north, with LTTE forces continuing to attack government bases in the Jaffna peninsula area..

December 13; In the weekend fighting in the north, the government says 267 LTTE guerillas had been killed, as well as eight soldiers (with over a hundred wounded.) The LTTE has been shelling the government military complex at the base of the LTTE controlled Jaffna peninsula. One additional casualty of the fighting in the north is the interruption of the demining operations. There are hundreds of thousands of mines, mostly in the north. Even when their location is documented, the monsoon rains are often so intense that the mines are swept away to new locations.

December 12; The LTTE claims they have overrun three government bases in the north. The government denies it. But there is heavy fighting up there.

December 11; The LTTE has launched a new offensive in the north. The chief target appears to be the Elephant Pass base, which houses a divisional headquarters. This base was reportedly attacked from all side.

December 10; The government is considering changing the constitution to create a federal state. This would allow a more autonomous province or two for the Tamils. This would appeal to the majority of Tamils, who also want the war to end. But it would not be likely to win over the LTTE, which has become increasingly strident in their demand for an independent Tamil state on the island. Meanwhile, in two clashes near Tricomalee, at least ten people were killed in clashes with the LTTE.

 

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