Sri Lanka: Rebels Reeling from Multiple Setbacks

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September 12, 2006: The fighting in the north has caused over 200,000 people to flee their homes, to avoid the violence. Supplies have been interrupted for another 500,000 people, in areas where LTTE troops block access. In nearly a week of fighting, there have been about a thousand casualties (including nearly 200 dead). While there have been a few spectacular assaults on LTTE bunker complexes, there are daily, often hourly, exchanges of artillery and mortar fire. Only a few government infantry battalions are in action at any one time, but dozens of other battalions are exposed to random artillery, mortar, sniper and machine-gun fire. The government is trying to penetrate LTTE forces blockading large army base areas in the north, without incurring a lot of casualties (which is bad for morale).
September 10, 2006: Renewed fighting in the north has caused over a hundred casualties a day for the government and LTTE forces combined. The army has been able to capture LTTE bunkers, which were not defended with as much determination as in the past.
September 9, 2006: Moslem refugees have been begun to return to their villages, after the army had driven out LTTE gunmen. Some 40,000 Moslems had fled the areas where army and LTTE forces faced each other, and fought when the war resumed. The army has resumed its offensive in the north, attacking in three areas.
September 8, 2006: While there is no major fighting in the north, there is artillery fire, in both directions, every day. Casualties usually amount to a dozen or so per side. The LTTE has ordered compulsory three months military training for all children. Those who do not take the training, will be barred from schools. LTTE attempts to persuade, or kidnap, teenagers for military duty have less and less successful. Those already under arms are less enthusiastic about it. Desertions and defections are up, and LTTE gunmen are not fighting as fiercely as they used to.
September 7, 2006: LTTE rebels in eastern Sri Lanka have begun making major attacks on LTTE units. LTTE forces in northern and eastern Sri Lanka have no land access with each other. The navy has shut down most LTTE sea traffic between the northern and eastern LTTE controlled areas. Thus the LTTE rebels, which are mainly from eastern Sri Lanka, are able to fight the mainline LTTE on somewhat even terms.

 

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