Sri Lanka: Rebel Offensive Fails


April 24,2008: The government diplomatic offensive has crippled the LTTE logistics network. Fundraising among Sri Lankan Tamils has been much reduced as police in Europe, North America and Australia investigate and arrest LTTE activists. Most LTTE support activities have shifted to the state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India, the origin of Sri Lankan Tamils. There, police have gone after LTTE operatives and supply shipments. Some boats are still getting through, but much less than before. At least according to the testimony of captured LTTE fighters, who speak of unprecedented shortages. The navy and air force have developed tactics which enable gunboats and warplanes to work together patrolling the rebel controlled coastline and identify and destroy smuggling boats.

April 23, 2008: The long feared LTTE counter-attack came in Jaffna. The well trained LTTE fighters attacked army positions and drove back the troops. Unlike in the past, the soldiers rallied and held their lines. The main fighting lasted all day (eleven hours) and left over 200 dead (about 40 percent of them LTTE) and several hundred wounded on both sides. The army always believed that the LTTE was holding back a force of several hundred combat veterans. This reserve could be used for a last stand, or an offensive meant to demoralize the army and halt the dismantling of LTTE defenses in the north. In the last four months, the army believes it has killed 3,100 LTTE fighters. At the start of the year, there were believed to be 5,000 LTTE fighters under arms, and since then, several thousand more have been recruited. This included many teenagers, which caused a stink with NGOs, and the parents of many of the kids. The LTTE is short on weapons and ammo. The way this script works, once the "victory offensive" fails, despair follows and morale plummets. But the core leadership of the LTTE is pretty fanatic and ruthless. This will probably end ugly.

April 21, 2008: Army operations have become bolder and more frequent. This includes pre-dawn surprise attacks and a continuation of the lopsided casualty count (ten LTTE dead for each soldier killed) experienced so far this year.

April 17, 2008: The army believes it killed 399 LTTE fighters last month. Meanwhile, 34 soldiers died and 236 were wounded. The number of LTTE wounded is unknown, but is probably at least double the number killed. Most of the LTTE losses are suffered during attacks on LTTE bunkers, which often result in all LTTE fighters inside the bunker being killed. There were 99 civilian casualties last month, including sixteen dead.


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