Sri Lanka: A Poke Here, A Poke There


May 22, 2007: In the last four months, the government believes it has killed at least 541 LTTE rebels, and wounded many more. The military lost 44 dead, and nearly a hundred civilians are believed to have been killed as well. Currently, there are several dozen casualties a day from the skirmishing between army and LTTE forces. The air force has become more and more successful at locating, and bombing, LTTE camps and facilities (for training, ammo storage and weapons repair). The army is hoping there will be a sharp increase in desertions from the LTTE forces, and that the LTTE can be destroyed without a lot of bloody ground fighting. So far, that strategy appears to be working, with the LTTE too weak to launch an offensive of their own.

Between 1983 and the 2002 ceasefire, 65,000 died in the Tamil rebellion. Since 2002, when the ceasefire fell apart, another 5,000 have died. The LTTE still insists on partitioning the island, to give the Tamil minority (about 18 percent of the population) their own country. The majority refuses to allow this, and is willing to fight to the end to crush the LTTE.

May 21, 2007: The LTTE has refused to have peace talks with the government unless there is a ceasefire first. The LTTE have been taking a beating in the last year, and is dealing with internal dissent as well. The LTTE needs a ceasefire to survive.

May 20, 2007: Eleven Indian fishermen were released after being held captive by the LTTE for over two months. Their fishing boat had been taken by the LTTE, and apparently used to smuggle weapons into Sri Lanka.

May 18, 2007: After a twelve hour standoff, the coast guard of the Maldive Islands sunk a boat carrying weapons and ammo for the LTTE. The boat was headed for nearby Sri Lanka.


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