Sri Lanka: April 19, 2003

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Ethnic cleansing in Tamil controlled territory has resulted in a week of violence between LTTE rebels armed with automatic weapons and mobs of local Moslems armed with sticks and knives. The latest violence, 270 kilometers northeast of the capital,  has left at least three dead and over a hundred Moslem homes burned. The town of Muttur is largely Moslem and the Tamils would like to make it largely Tamil by forcing Moslems to flee. The LTTE has long backed the policy of driving non-Tamils out of majority Tamil areas. This made it less likely that non-Tamils would report rebel activities and otherwise resist rebel control. The army has moved in nearly 2,000 troops to enforce a curfew. 

Some 14 months of ceasefire and peace talks have not brought a permanent peace, and many Sri Lankans see the process as a ploy by the rebels to build their military strength to eventually split the nation by force. 

 

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