Sri Lanka: Besieging Involuntary Martyrs


March 25, 2009: As the army advances into long held LTTE territory, the government has found ample evidence of how foreign aid groups (NGOs, non-governmental organizations) had become part of the LTTE war effort, while pretending to be neutral providers of humanitarian aid. The government accuses the NGOs of continuing that effort by falsely accusing the army of deliberately targeting civilians in the final battle with the LTTE. The government believes many of the NGOs hired LTTE members, and allowed the local NGO operations to be taken over by the rebels. Had the NGOs not allowed this, they would have been expelled from LTTE territory and lost business (NGOs survive by supervising the distribution of aid provided by donors, usually national governments and foundations.)

So far this year, about 50,000 Tamil civilians have escaped from LTTE control. The LTTE has held captive a large group of Tamil civilians, and used them as human shields. The civilians are  forced to build fortifications and transport supplies. About a thousand of these civilians are escaping a day now, despite the LTTE use of force (beatings and gunfire) to try and prevent this. Apparently there are not enough armed, and loyal, LTTE fighters left to guard all the LTTE civilians. There are still up to 100,000 civilians being held by the LTTE, and it appears that the LTTE is ready for a siege. The foreign aid groups are allowed to bring in food and medical supplies for the civilians, and this keeps the LTTE fighters going. As the LTTE retreated, they used vehicles to haul large quantities of ammunition with them, so they can keep shooting for weeks. LTTE efforts to mobilize popular support in India and the West have failed. No additional weapons and munitions are getting in by sea. The LTTE appears willing to let thousands of Tamil civilians get killed in this final battle. Apparently these dead civilians will be declared martyrs, and used to encourage aiding future terrorist operations in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

In the last few days there have been several attempts by groups of LTTE fighters to sneak out of the coastal strip where they are trapped. Some of these groups may escape, to carry out terror attacks while blending in with the Tamil population of northern Sri Lanka. But the army, along with additional troops from the air force and navy, have set up a tight perimeter around the 20 square kilometers of territory the LTTE still controls. The army is now advancing close to the "no-fire" zone established for the Tamil civilians held by the LTTE. Apparently the LTTE houses some of their fighters in the no-fire zone, so sending troops in will result in firefights.

March 24, 2009:  Police raided an LTTE safe house outside the capital, and seized over 600 pounds of military explosives, other bomb making materials plus weapons. All this was to be used for a major terror attack in the capital.

March 22, 2009: The navy caught a boat, with five LTTE fighters, trying to enter government controlled waters. The LTTE boat was accompanied by four other boats filled with civilians trying to get away from the LTTE.

March 21, 2009: The 53rd Infantry division cleared a 1.5 kilometer portion of the A-35 coastal highway. LTTE fighters fell back rather than die defending the road.

March 20, 2009: Troops came across the bodies of a group of "Sea Tigers", the LTTE troops who normally plan and carry out attacks by sea. One of the dead was a senior leader of the Sea Tigers, leading his men in ground combat. Most of the LTTE boats have been captured or destroyed, thus the several hundred Sea Tigers are fighting on land.

March 19, 2009: The LTTE forces in the northeast are now confined to about 20 square kilometers of jungle and bush along the coast. The LTTE are suffering dozens of casualties a day, as the army continues to stop LTTE attempts to get out.


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