Sri Lanka’s Singhalese majority is celebrating what is expected to be the end of Asia’s longest-running modern war. The Tamil Tigers announced a unilateral ceasefire this morning, as the Sri Lankan army closed in for the kill.
President Mahida Rajapaksa said the Tigers were finished as a fighting force, and declared victory in the 25-year war over a Tamil homeland. There are now fears the Tigers will resort to guerilla warfare, having invented the practice of suicide attacks in the 1980s. A body believed to be that of Tigers’ leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran has been discovered. He founded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 1976, before an all-out campaign of violence erupted seven years later. He also swore to kill himself to avoid capture. As the fighting intensified in recent days, fears grew for the safety of civilians trapped between the opposing forces. On Saturday, the Sri Lankan army took control of the east coast for the first time since the war started. The Tigers had nowhere to run and, despite their culture of “no surrender”, they seem to have finally accepted defeat.