Sri Lanka: War Intensifies, Sort Of


August 15, 2006: The government has closed schools, fearing that LTTE would make terror attacks on them. The rebels claim that an air attack on an LTTE training facility instead hit an orphanage for teenage girls. But the LTTE kidnaps and coerces teenagers, boys and girls, to serve as combat and combat support troops. The LTTE has been under pressure to stop recruiting teenagers, but has refused to do so.
The LTTE attacks so far have been small scale. With the dissention inside the LTTE, and poor morale among the rebels, the LTTE may not be able to launch the large scale attacks it was capable of before the 2002 ceasefire. The LTTE is trying to mobilize its forces, but there is not nearly as much enthusiasm for war, among Tamils, as there was before 2002. Indeed, one reason for the 2002 ceasefire was declining morale among Tamils (who comprise about 18 percent of the Sri Lanka's population.)
August 14, 2006: In the capital, a LTTE mine destroyed a vehicle belonging to the Pakistani embassy, and just missed the Pakistani ambassador. But seven people were killed (four Pakistanis and three bystanders). The LTTE has warned Pakistan to stop supplying Sir Lanka with weapons. Pakistan supports Sri Lanka partly because the government has been trying to protect the Moslem minority in Sri Lanka, which has been under attack by the LTTE.
August 13, 2006: The fighting has, in the last four days, left over 200 dead, about 60 percent of them LTTE and a quarter of them civilians.
August 12, 2006: Over a thousand LTTE fighters attacked army positions in the north and east, trying to re-establish the degree of rebel control that existed before the ceasefire in 2002. There are some 40,000 troops in the north, stationed in areas surrounded by rebel controlled territory. Meanwhile, one of the senior government officials responsible for maintaining the ceasefire, was murdered in the capital. LTTE death squads were believed responsible.


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