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Sri Lankan Civil War History: Government declares 48 hour halt to fighting. April 14th 2009

March 9, 2012

Sri Lankan Civil War History: Government declares 48 hour halt to fighting. April 14th 2009

 

 

(Note: This is an edited reprint of an article first Publish April 14th 2009 00:35 and refers to events around that date)


IDP’s – Internally Displaced People keep coming from the LTTE territory.

 

President Mahindra declared a 48 hour cessation in operations to coincide with the beginning of the Sri Lankan New Year. The pause is to give time for the thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone time to escape.


Sri Lankan President Mahinda


Currently the entire LTTE rebel force is confined to a small stretch of land of 20 sq km (7 sq miles). The problem is that this area is also the demarcated No Fire Zone that was set aside by the government to protect civilians. As a result thousands of Tamil civilians have fled to this area that is under LTTE controlled territory. However the LTTE have also moved in their heavy artillery and last remaining cadres (estimated to be just a few hundred). The most reliable estimate of the civilian number is around 60,000 who are being prevented from leaving by the LTTE. So far more than 67,000 have been able to escape to government controlled area.

 


LTTE top level leaders that have been killed.

 


The UN has declared this No Fire Zone as one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Civilians are being used as forced labour by the LTTE to build bunkers and fortifications. There are reports of children as young as ten being sent onto battle fields to retrieve weapons from dead LTTE cadres. Civilians that try to escape are being fired upon by the LTTE. Mounds of earth bunds have been constructed to prevent the easy escape of further civilians. Both HRW (Human Rights Watch) and the UN now admit that the LTTE are holding civilians as human shields.

A few days ago several loud explosions were reported to have been heard coming from inside the No Fire Zone. The LTTE websites claim that the government had fired upon a hospital. However the Sri Lankan Army denied this charge stating that it had ceased using heavy artillery some time ago. They cite intelligence reports that the civilians inside the No Fire Zone were rebelling against the LTTE and it was the LTTE who fired upon the Tamils to quash the rebellion. Since no independent observers can verify the claims it is difficult to determine whose version is correct. However if the Army was using heavy artillery then the war would be over already. 20 sq kms is a very small area to saturation bomb as shown in Southern Lebanon just a few years ago.

The government has accused the last remaining LTTE rebels of deliberately trying to create a humanitarian disaster in order to win worldwide sympathy.

Protests around the world have been organized by Tamil protesters. At the centre of many protests LTTE terrorist flags are being waved in force. In London one protest preceded the decapitation of a statue of India’s first Prime Minister Nehru. Police are still investigating.


Also in India the current Prime Minister Sonia Gandhi and her family have been warned by the Indian Intelligence Service that they are prime target for LTTE assassins. Sonia’s husband Rajiv was assassinated in an LTTE suicide bombing nearly 20 years ago.

In Australia there was a protest outside the Prime Minister’s residence where again the LTTE flags were featured prominently. Australia is one of the few countries that has not prescribed the LTTE as a terrorist organization.

In Oslo the Sri Lankan High Commission was stormed by protesters who damaged furniture and broke windows before being removed by police. The Sri Lankan President Mahindra has asked to Norway to provide better security for its embassy and staff.

 


Protester inside the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oslo


The next two days will indicate whether the LTTE will allow civilians to leave their controlled. Indications so far are not positive. Heavy artillery is reported to have been placed in the centre of civilian populations.

The leader of the LTTE Prabhakaran has become even more elusive and invisible but is believe to be bunkered down in the No Fire Zone. What happens after the 48 hour deadline expires is only privy to the Sri Lankan field commanders. However if the previous cease fire is any indication the there could be a move to start taking territory.

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