Sri Lanka: Desperate Measures

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April 15, 2009: Expatriate Tamils, who have long supported (if not always voluntarily) the LTTE with cash, are now holding large demonstrations in Britain and Australia. This is part of an LTTE attempt to gain popular support and diplomatic pressure on Sri Lanka to agree to a ceasefire. If this can be achieved, the LTTE can rebuild and resume its fight to partition the island into Tamil and non-Tamil sectors. The Sri Lankan government refuses to even discuss a permanent ceasefire, and will only negotiate if the LTTE disarms.

The number of civilians escaping the 20 square kilometer "no-fire" zone has declined from 2,000 a day two weeks ago, to less than 200 a day. So far, over 67,000 civilians have been able to get out of the zone. The two day truce apparently allowed the LTTE fighters to increase their efforts to control the thousands of Tamil civilians in the no-fire zone. During the two day ceasefire, troops could see LTTE fighters directing Tamil civilians to build fortifications. The army announced that they are resuming their offensive, which will apparently involve troops advancing slowly against LTTE bunkers, while trying to avoid hitting Tamil civilians the LTTE are using as human shields. The remaining LTTE fighters appear willing to fight to the death, and force Tamil civilians to die as human shields.

April 14, 2009: Two LTTE boats attempted to land in the LTTE safe zone in the northeast. But navy patrol boats fired on the LTTE boats, sinking them, and killing at least ten people.

April 13, 2009: One soldier was killed, and another wounded, as LTTE fighters fired out of the no-fire zone. Only about two dozen Tamil civilians left the no-fire zone on the first day of the ceasefire, and they reported that the LTTE was using force to prevent civilians from leaving.

April 12, 2009: The government declared a unilateral 48 hour ceasefire, to enable civilians in the no-fire zone to escape. The cease fire would begin on the 13th and end on the 14th. Meanwhile, LTTE gunmen in the southeast part of the island, raided a village and killed eight civilians. The same group apparently later went on to kill three more Sinhalese civilians. There are still over a hundred LTTE gunmen operating in the largely Tamil east coast of Sri Lanka. In Norway, demonstrators broke into the Sri Lankan embassy, while police looked on, and trashed the place.

April 10, 2009: The LTTE appear to be using force to keep 50,000 or so civilians in a 20 square kilometer "no-fire" zone along a beach in northeast Sri Lanka. Troops surrounding the zone hear gunfire inside the zone, but there are no reports of Sri Lankan troops being fired on. Tamil civilians who do escape the zone, report LTTE gunmen firing on those trying to leave, and planting mines and booby traps to discourage civilians from leaving.

 

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