Sri Lanka Tigers set to return to guerrilla warfare

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

January 26, 2009 (AFP) – After a series of battlefield defeats, Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels have lost their conventional fighting capability, but analysts say they will fight on using guerrilla tactics. Once known as a ruthlessly efficient separatist group, the Tamil Tigers over three decades established a de facto mini-state which in recent weeks has collapsed in the face of the government’s military offensive.

Troops on Sunday stormed into Mullaittivu, the last town held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), effectively ending the Tigers’ territorial claims.

“The military phase has come to an end, but the conflict will go on,” said Jayadeva Uyangoda, the head of political science at the University of Colombo.

“The Tigers may not be able to regain the political or military power that they had before, so they will return to guerrilla tactics.”

The Tigers waged a textbook guerrilla war in the 1980s, emerging from jungle hideouts to launch small-scale hit-and-run ambushes, bombings and sabotage attacks that the government found impossible to prevent.

In one strike they killed 13 soldiers in a single landmine explosion.

Uyangoda said the government might now of