Sri Lanka Tigers could go back to guerrilla war as mini state crumbles

November 28, 2008 (AFP) – A pledge by Sri Lanka’s Tamil rebel leader to fight on despite a military onslaught raised fears Friday of a return to a hit-and-run guerrilla war as his mini-state faced potential collapse. Separatist chief Velupillai Prabhakaran vowed Thursday the rebels would “continue with our struggle until the alien Sinhala occupation of our land is evicted,” referring to Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese population, and appealed to Tamils abroad for support to shore up his military machine.

Government forces have surrounded Prabhakaran in his political capital of Kilinochchi in the biggest-ever military campaign in the history of Sri Lanka’s armed separatist struggle, which dates back to 1972.

Prabhakaran’s speech delivered over Voice of Tigers radio contained veiled threats against civilians and suggestions the rebels would revert to hit-and-run attacks as their territory shrank, observers said.

“Prabhakaran acknowledges there’s fighting all around him and that he’s under siege,” said retired army brigadier general Vipul Boteju. “When he says he will fight on, it means he will return to his classic guerrilla tactics.”

State radio warned Friday that Tiger rebels could resort to ”