So far this year, nearly 6,500
LTTE fighters have been killed, about ten times more deaths than the army has
suffered. The government forces are coming up the northwestern coast of the
island, the last bit of territory the LTTE controls.
months and seven attacks, the small LTTE air force of single engine commercial
aircraft, has lost one of its planes to an air force fighter. Two LTTE aircraft
had made a bombing attack on a government controlled town in the north, but to
no effect. The air force radar system spotted the LTTE aircraft, and was able
to vector a jet for an interception.
2008: The LTTE continues to interfere
with the efforts of Tamils to flee LTTE territory. Partly, this is to keep
potential military manpower handy, partly it's for propaganda purposes.
Civilians controlled are a sign of political power, and they can also be used
as human shields, to provide some protection from artillery or air attack. If
civilians are hurt by artillery or bombs, you can accuse the government of
atrocities. The LTTE was also using NGOs (foreign non-governmental
organizations) for political purposes. So the government has ordered foreign
NGOs out of LTTE territory, at least until this final battle is over.
The LTTE are
now staging counterattacks, but none strong enough to stop the army advance.
2008: While 7,500 army deserters took
advantage of a recent amnesty, several thousand did not. So the police have
begun looking for them, and 305 have been arrested.
2008: The army captured Mallavi, a
northern town long used as a LTTE base. The town contained an LTTE hospital for
wounded fighters, and sits astride a key supply road for its forces in the
2008: The army is within 12 kilometers of
Kilinochchi, the town the LTTE uses as a headquarters. The LTTE are expected to
put up a strong resistance defending Kilinochchi.
2008: The LTTE openly complained of army
commandos sneaking through LTTE territory and sometimes ambushing people on the
roads and trails. The LTTE vows retaliation in government territory, and this
is thought to mean more terrorist attacks.
2008: In Colombo, a bomb went off in a
market area and wounded fifty people.