Sri Lanka. By the end of 2008, the army had had great successes in the war against the Tamil guerrilla LTTE and after the turn of the year the rebels were driven to a rapid retreat. Most of their remaining strongholds were taken by the army in January and the situation of the once-powerful guerrillas became desperate. The LTTE conducted suicide bombings among fleeing civilians to force them into the combat zone as human shields, and the guerrilla’s small aircraft fleet attacked the capital, Colombo.
According to countryaah, all proposals for peace negotiations were rejected by the government. While the UN raised alarms about horrific civilian casualties in the fighting, the intensity of war increased in March as guerrillas entered a less than 25 square kilometer jungle area in the Northeast. According to the army, tens of thousands of civilians had managed to get out of the war zone, but the government refused to allow humanitarian organizations to help the hundreds of thousands believed to remain there. Proposals from the outside world on the ceasefire for humanitarian reasons were rejected by the government as undue mastery. since being visited by France and Britain’s foreign ministers. Sweden’s Carl Bildt, who would have participated in the same trip, did not get an entry permit.
In May the fighting culminated since the last land strip on the east coast held by the guerrillas had been taken by the army. The battle zone where LTTE hedged shrank to a few square kilometers and on May 19, the government announced that the mythical LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had been killed. 26 years of civil war were over, and the world’s once most powerful and most merciless guerrilla army was annihilated. The man who proclaimed himself the new leader of the guerrillas was arrested in June in Southeast Asia and flown to Sri Lanka.
An appeal by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay for an independent investigation into both sides’ abuses was rejected by the government, which was supported by its UN Human Rights Council’s no-vote. The war was over, but for about a quarter of a million civilian Tamils held in detention camps, life remained unbearable. The government persisted in its rejection of international organizations’ demands for transparency in the conditions, but began to empty the camps during the autumn. Meanwhile, all refugees’ backgrounds were checked so that no guerrilla warriors could hide among them. A few thousand who were said to have admitted that they belonged to the LTTE were expected to be tried. Riding on the wave of success, the government conducted general elections in several provinces and prevailed in all.
First tourists in nine months
Sri Lanka welcomes the first foreign tourists in nine months when a charter flight from Ukraine lands with 185 passengers on board. To enter the country, tourists must show a document that they tested negative for covid-19 on departure from Ukraine. Then they were tested again on arrival. Tourists are not allowed to leave the hotel area during their stay. Otherwise, the country’s borders are kept closed. At the same time, the spread of the coronavirus in Sri Lanka is increasing, which is also feared to have caused a more contagious mutation of the virus. Sri Lanka’s economy has been hit hard by the sharp decline in international tourism during the pandemic and the government wants to continue to receive tourists in the country under corona-safe conditions.
China invests in factory and housing
China is making its first major investment in Sri Lanka’s manufacturing industry by investing $ 300 million in a tire factory near the deep-water port of Hambantota. The port has been leased by a Chinese company since 2017 when the Sri Lankan government could not pay off a Chinese loan. The investment is part of Beijing’s infrastructure initiative Silk Road Initiative (BRI). Eighty percent of the tire production will be exported, the rest the company hopes to be able to sell in Sri Lanka. With Chinese money, a large residential area, The Colombo Port City, will also be built in Colombo. During Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency 2005-2015, Sri Lanka’s debt to China rose sharply. His brother, current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is also seeking financial support from China. The Sri Lankan economy is in crisis since the corona pandemic almost knocked out tourism and hit exports hard.
Hundreds are released after prisoner revolt
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa pardons 637 prisoners after a revolt in a prison outside Colombo two days earlier killed nine inmates and injured 113. The outbreak of violence was caused by anger among the prisoners over how the coronavirus could spread in the institution due to overcrowding and poor hygienic conditions. The Minister of Justice says that thousands more prisoners may be released to reduce the risk of infection spreading. Sri Lanka’s prisons hold more than 30,000 inmates, three times more prisoners than the prisons are intended for. Of these, about 1,200 have tested positive for the virus and two have died with covid-19. In the country as a whole, almost 24,000 corona cases have been confirmed and 118 have died with covid-19.