The largest hostage rescue in the world’s history
Hostage takings have been reported sporadically, throughout the
However, none was even closer to the recent captivity of approximate
of 250,000 of civilians by the Tamil Tiger terrorists (LTTE) in the
north eastern jungles. Over the past few days over 100,000 hostages were
rescued by the Sri Lankan Forces - the largest number of hostages
rescued in such a short period, anywhere in the world.
LTTE is banned world-wide as a terror outfit for their work on
suicide bombings, child soldiering, organized crime, and unlimited human
rights violations. In addition to the billions of rupees in property
damage, LTTE violence has consumed over 140,000 lives; the majority had
been women and children. Three decades of government-initiated and third
party mediated negotiations as well as peace discussions were failed.
Terrorists have constantly violated all ceasefire agreements. The final
turning point towards defeating terrorism in Sri Lanka was attained in
mid-2008, after three years of careful and strategic planning by the
Government. LTTE terrorists never anticipated such a rapid advance of
the military, which has now completely encircled them.
It is important to note that in spite of the military disadvantages
of it, to-date, the Sri Lankan government continues to supply food,
water and medicine to the terrorist held areas. Up to now, about 180,000
civilians have been fled safely from the terrorist’s captivity. To safe
guard these civilians and to establish a safe route for them to escape
LTTE prison, in concurrence with the UN, a no-fire zone (a safe haven)
was established by the Government. Many who attempted to escape were
shot or maimed. The UN and other agencies, and those civilians who
survived from the captivity confirmed that terrorists used them as human
shields, forced them to fight with them and to participate in suicidal
In addition to the strategic ground and navel blockade of weapons
supply, destruction of its naval hardware, the fall of LTTE is also in
part due to sheer exhaustion and the lack of confidence in its
Nevertheless, some of these terrorists have managed to escape by
intermingling with civilians, and are currently engaged in sporadic
attacks on civilian targets in the rest of the country, to divert
attention from the battle front in the North. Meanwhile, the government
has initiated a massive USD 150 million humanitarian programme to care
for the IDPs with the assistance from the UN and others.
Under the direct supervision of the Army Commander and the Defence
Secretary, three major army divisions surrounded LTTE terrorists in an
area of about 200 sq km. Due to successful army advances, this area has
now been reduced to less than 18 sq km - a relatively thin strip of land
consisting of the no-fire zone. Battle hardened ground troops have been
supported by Special Forces and the Air Mobile Brigade, as well as an
increasingly sophisticated Navy who have developed the skills to carry
out targeted, small group operations minimizing collateral damage.
Meanwhile, terrorists keep on resorting to the inhuman practice of
suicide bombing and use of civilian, human shields.
The Government had repeatedly requested the terrorists to surrender,
to end this siege. However, LTTE leadership has opted not to do so, and
have ordered them to fight to death. This decision had already led to
the demise of most of the LTTE terrorist’s leaders. Those remaining few
hundred fighters, half have been assigned to protect its leader; another
example of the self-centered leadership style of the LTTE.
It is only a matter of days, before the Tamil Tiger Terrorists are
completely eliminated. Hence, there is no reason for the continual
suffering inflicted upon these hostages by the Tamil Tiger terrorists.
Many governments and leading agencies including the UN have
repeatedly requested the Tigers to release their captives unharmed; but
these terrorists have refused to do so.
All key players including the four Co-chairs, India, the UN as well
as independent groups like the Crisis Group, and envoys like Lakdar
Brahimi and Load Neseby, etc., have said that the quickest and most
humane way to end conflict now is to release the hostage, for LTTE to
disarm and surrender its cadres and for the Government to consider fair
trial for cadres. Recent interviews by the Chair of the UK-all party
MPs, Lord Naseby and the UN under-secretary, Sir John Holmes, also
The UN Secretary General has refused to call for a ceasefire. He
welcomed the Government’s recent approach of two no-hostility periods,
further facilitating the safe rescue of trapped civilians. Yet, LTTE has
unequivocally stated that they will not release civilians from their
hostage. Therefore, a ceasefire would make no difference to detained
civilians. Ceasefire would only allow terrorist an opportunity to re-arm
and re-group, which can lead to further hostage taking, and causing
chaos, death, and misery. If anyone currently suggesting a ceasefire,
they must be reacting to misguided information provided by the LTTE-related
The majority of Tamils in Sri Lanka lives happily and successfully,
outside North and the North-Eastern areas, and do not want a separate
state (so-called Eelam). It is ironic that there is a recent worldwide
sudden rush of destructive behaviour by small groups of Tamils who are
pleading with their governments to impose a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. Who
are these suddenly emerging protestors, and why are they protesting now?
Accumulating evidence suggest that they have little interest towards the
trapped hostages or their safety. Moreover, there does not seem to be
any sincerity of these self-serving, sporadic protests by a handful of
Tamils in various countries. The main interest appears to be to save the
LTTE leadership. Many of expatriate Tamils protesting abroad seem to be
the ones who have been donating significant amounts of money to this
terrorist group. They suddenly realised that their long-term investment
will soon disappear without any chance of return for their investments.
Currently, the Sri Lankan government is rightly proceeding with the
help of its armed forces to free thousands of Tamils held in captivity
by the LTTE. Sovereign Sri Lanka can handle its internal affairs, and it
is unwarranted and unwise to interfere with its national security issues
by outside entities. Recent liberation of over 30,000 captives in a
single day, from the world’s largest hostage taking, further
demonstrates its capabilities to handle the situation.
Terrorism and the violence will never succeed. The Government will
soon effectively eradicate the LTTE terrorism. In spite of the carnage
they created over a three decades, LTTE has miserably failed both
domestically and internationally, wasting hundreds of lives and
infrastructure worth billions of rupees.The LTTE has also disappointed
its worldwide - thousands of financial donors who fueled this misery.
Those who funded this war with selfish expectations for major favors
in the future from the LTTE regime must now be deeply disappointed. This
has now led to the recent sporadic protests by Tamil expatriates. The
civilized world will never condone nor reward terrorism, child
soldiering, or hostage taking.