Sri Lanka: Condescend Me Not


July 23, 2009:  Police and military intelligence continue to check people in the refugee camps, for wanted members of the LTTE. The government knows of hundreds of LTTE leaders and operatives who were directly responsible for the deaths of security personnel and civilians, and is seeking them out. Some help is being received from Tamil refugees, but most Tamil civilians are still terrified of LTTE retribution. There is still an LTTE presence in the camps, and the government is trying to root it out. The military is also looking for information on where the LTTE buried weapons and equipment. Large quantities of both are believed to be concealed in the north. Every week, patrolling troops and police uncover more of this stuff, and refugees are being offered rewards for revealing where weapons and equipment are hidden. The police believe that the LTTE plans to resume hostilities, using the hidden weapons, once the refugee camps are closed.

So far this year, the army and police have arrested or captured about 10,000 LTTE members. It's understood that not all of them, still on the island, are going to be caught. But now is the best time to grab the next wave of LTTE terrorists before they start killing again. There's a lot of pressure (from within Sri Lanka, and without) to empty the camps up north holding the 300,000 Tamils displaced by the final months of combat. Many of these refugees want to go stay with kin (in the east, or even the south) rather than return to their devastated villages. Some security officials oppose this, fearing it will put some LTTE agents in areas heretofore free of LTTE activity.

The new army commander wants to refocus his troops to post war security and rebuilding tasks. Security is particularly important, because more LTTE operatives are being found and arrested every week, and interrogations (and captured documents), indicate that the LTTE is rebuilding to continue their war. Meanwhile, the government has cancelled $200 million in orders for military equipment (including ammo) from China and Pakistan.

July 21, 2009: Some surviving officials of the LTTE appointed a new supreme leader, Selvarasa Pathmanathan (who used to be the head of international relations, and unofficially in charge of gun running and money laundering.) Pathmanathan promptly gave  press interviews and claimed that there were still 1,500-2,000 LTTE fighters active in Sri Lanka. The government doubts there are that many, but there are still thousands of angry Tamils who could be recruited for such a force. Moreover, the surviving LTTE leadership is still scattered and demoralized. Not all have accepted Pathmanathan as the new supreme leader. The new LTTE headquarters is operating from an undisclosed location. The LTTE remains an international terrorist organization to most governments.

July 20, 2009: The 15,000 Tamils in the refugee camps, who are over 60 years old, may now leave. The government has also set up schools for  40,000 of the children in the camps, even though these kids are expected to be out of the camps by the end of the year.

July 9, 2009: Five Sri Lankan doctors, who served within the LTTE zone during the last month of the war, admitted that they were coerced by the LTTE to inflate (from about 700 to 7,000) the number of civilian deaths. The higher number was blindly accepted by the UN and other NGOs, as well as most mass media. The LTTE knew this would be the case, even though they were rather blatantly using Tamil civilians as human shields, and had deceived the media many times before. The NGOs continue to hunt headlines (and contracts) by puffing up numbers and distorting statistics on the health of Tamil refugees in the Sri Lankan camps. The Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka see this as another example of Western colonialism. This has been a sore point with the Sinhalese since the 1940s, and Westerners are usually oblivious about how incensed the Sinhalese are at the perceived condescending attitudes of Westerners in general, and the Western NGOs in particular.

July 6, 2009: India is sending hundreds of engineers to clear LTTE mines in the north, as well as medical personnel to help with the health of the Tamil refugees in the camps.

July 4, 2009: A soldier was killed while trying to arrest a fugitive LTTE leader, who was trying to leave the island by boat. The LTTE man was wounded and captured.

July 1, 2009: The government plans to get all 300,000 Tamil civilians out of refugee camps and back in villages within six months. The armed forces are also being increased from 200,000 to 250,000, in anticipation of a resumption of LTTE terrorism. Meanwhile, movement restrictions to the north have been lifted, although there are still numerous checkpoints and military patrols.


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