Sri Lanka: Not Much From Above


April 2, 2007: The air force has shifted most of its attacks to the northeast, where the next, and final, campaign against the LTTE will take place over the next few months. In the last sixteen months of fighting, over 4,000 have died. The violence has intensified over the last few months, but the casualties have remained fairly low. The LTTE is using more terror attacks, apparently because its combat forces are less numerous and reliable. The government fears that, in the end, the LTTE hard core will head for the hills, and spend years harassing the police and the public as political bandits.

April 1, 2007: French police arrested 17 LTTE fund raisers. France has been cracking down on LTTE money raising efforts lately, especially after it got out that the LTTE used extortion and violence to encourage donations. Apparently each Sri Lankan Tamil family in France was expected to give $2,700 a year, and business owners about three times that. The LTTE men who collected the money (one way or another) were allowed to keep 20 percent for their efforts. There are some 70,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in France. That means the LTTE was netting up to $30 million a year, or more, from France alone.

March 30, 2007: A Malaysian aeronautics school admitted training Tamils, from LTTE controlled areas, on how to fly and maintain light aircraft. LTTE personnel also received training in Europe, and collected the money, needed to buy the single engine aircraft, there. Meanwhile, India is cracking down on LTTE weapons smuggling. To that end, police found a cache of 2,000 explosives detonators hidden on the coast, apparently in preparation for sea movement to LTTE held areas in Sri Lanka.

March 29, 2007: The navy sank three LTTE supply boats off the northeast coast, leaving at least twenty rebels dead.

March 28, 2007: Soldiers in the east continue to find and capture LTTE strongholds. The rebels are running out of bases, and most of their gunmen are running around with little organization, leadership or support.

March 27, 2007: An LTTE suicide bomber tried to drive an explosives laden tractor into an army base in eastern Sri Lanka. He was stopped at the gate, but detonated the explosives, killing himself and eight others.

March 26, 2007: The LTTE used a single engine civilian aircraft to drop two small bombs on the main military air base (adjacent to the nations only international airport) at night. Three airmen were killed. and sixteen wounded. No warplanes were damaged, thus making the attack a failure (except in a propaganda sense.) In 2001, LTTE commandos attacked this base and destroyed one of the air force's MiG-27 fighter-bombers on the ground. This was the first time the LTTE risked their few aircraft in a combat mission. Normally, they use these aircraft to smuggle senior leaders in and out of the country, as well as to bring in vital supply items (like cash). Using their aircraft means the LTTE is really desperate.


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