Sri Lanka: Rebels Crush Their Peace Faction

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June 7,2008: The LTTE has yet another internal rebellion brewing, with LTTE senior leader, and peace negotiator, Seevaratnam Prabaharan, placed under house arrest in the north. Prabaharan wanted to cut a deal with the government before the LTTE was crushed. That is still a minority attitude in the LTTE leadership, and Prabaharan was silenced and isolated to keep such ideas from spreading. But the desire for peace is already well established among Tamils in the LTTE controlled north, and LTTE leaders have to deal with increasingly reluctant fighters.

In the north, the army captured a kilometer of LTTE front line, after three days of fighting and over a hundred casualties (most of them LTTE, according to the army). The LTTE drafted local civilians to help build another defense line (trenches and bunkers) a few kilometers behind the one that was lost.

The LTTE only admits to having lost 918 "cadres" during the first five months of this year, and only 1,196 last year. A third of this years losses were female, compared to 13 percent last year, and 22 percent since LTTE violence began in 1982. So far this year, the government claims to have killed four times as many LTTE. People fleeing from LTTE controlled territory report more aggressive recruiting of teenagers and women for the fighting forces.

The Indian Navy has increased its patrols in the waters between India and Sri Lanka. Extra police are also available to examine Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, and arrest known LTTE members. India does not want the LTTE to establish itself in southern India. If that were to happen, attacks on Sri Lanka would be planned and launched from southern India, causing problems for police in both countries.

June 6, 2008: An LTTE roadside bomb hit a bus 20 kilometers south of the capital, killing twenty and wounding over 60. A little later, a bomb went off on another bus, killing two and wounding twenty. The government sees these terror attacks as an attempt by the LTTE to stir up violence between Tamils and the majority Sinhalese. That would make it easier for the LTTE to recruit fighters and suicide bombers for a long term fight. To forestall this, the government calls for calm, and asks for tips about suspected terrorist activity, not vigilante attacks on Tamils in general. In the aftermath of the latest attacks, tips came in and arrests were made. Bomb making materials and weapons were also seized.

June 4, 2008: In the capital, a bomb went off next to a train, wounding 18 people.

May 29, 2008: In the north, the LTTE attacked a small island off the coast, but were repulsed, with four of their boats sunk. Tanks and artillery in the nearby town of Jaffna were able to fire on the LTTE boats, doing most of the damage there. The LTTE were hoping to raid the small garrison on the island and make off with weapons and ammunition.

 

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