Sri Lanka: LTTE Faces Fatal Factionalism

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September 28, 2007: The military has been more active with daily air raids and increased army advances into LTTE territory. As a result, there are now nearly a hundred casualties a day. In some cases, the army is attacking to destroy LTTE bunkers that are being used as staging areas for attempts to sneak terrorists into government territory. The LTTE is making a major effort to carry out terror attacks in government territory but has not been very successful. The LTTE have lost their ability to terrorize populations into silence, so the police are getting a lot more tips about LTTE terrorist activities. Terrorists are being identified and arrested, and their weapons caches discovered and captured. The LTTE are taking heavy casualties trying to sneak terrorists through army lines. The LTTE have a manpower shortage, partly because of the loss of eastern Sri Lanka and partly because of Tamils becoming demoralized. The failed peace talks, loss of the east and improved tactics by the military have led to desertions and reluctant recruits. The army front lines are more thickly manned, while the lesser number of LTTE fighters makes it easier for army commandos to cross over and make attacks.

The navy fought a three hour battle with twenty LTTE boats which were trying to evacuate LTTE gunmen trapped in a coastal enclave by the army. Three LTTE boats were sunk and the rest scattered. The LTTE commander of the operation was killed. The LTTE navy is now considered defeated, and can only go to sea with commandeered fishing boats.

All these defeats have caused divisions in the LTTE leadership and another split is more likely. The last one, which created the Karuna faction in eastern Sri Lanka and led to the loss of over half of LTTE controlled territory, is still causing arguments among the senior leaders. A further split could cause the loss of the northern LTTE territory and reduce the organization to a collection of separate Tamil terrorist groups.

 

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