Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse has declared that the island’s Tamil Tiger fighters have been “defeated.” Earlier, the Sri Lankan military claimed the group’s remaining fighters were surrounded with no chance of escape. The advance by Sri Lankan troops signals a military finish to a war which has claimed 70,000 lives since 1983.
It is the first time the Colombo Government has controlled all its coastline in 25 years and the separatists now face total destruction as a conventional fighting force. The army appears to be carrying out mopping up operations.
Surviving Tamil Tigers are believed to be planning an escalation of their campaign. In the past they have mounted a series of dramatic terror raids and suicide bombings, especially in the Sri Lankan capital.
The stakes could not be higher for Sri Lanka. The government doesn’t want the surrounded Tigers to escape. For the Tigers, their 30 year fight for a separate homeland is nearing an end on the battlefield.
But there are worries in Sri Lanka that the Tigers’ fight for a homeland could now be entering a dangerous and deadly new phase.