President Mahinda Rajapaksa marked victory over the rebels in a weekend battle with an address to parliament. He told the country it had liberated from what he called “Tamil Tiger terrorism.”
More than 250 Tamil fighters were killed in the army’s final assualt on their last remaining positions. But there are fears violence could return. The Tigers have long warned they would intensify guerrilla attacks on government and tourism targets if defeated on the battlefield, though, after such a comprehensive defeat, their capacity to do so is questionable. The Sri Lankan government is also under pressure to build bridges with the Tamil popularity. The US and the EU, which criticised the government over the deaths of civiliians during the conflict, have urged it to reach out to the minority community.