Sri Lanka mulls banning Tigers as fighting escalates

December 30, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s government met Tuesday to consider re-imposing a formal ban on the Tamil Tigers as fighting escalated in the island’s north, official sources said. An original ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was lifted in September 2002 ahead of a Norwegian-backed peace process, which collapsed when President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government pulled out of a moribund truce earlier this year.

“The government will soon bring back the ban on the Tigers as fighting in the north has entered a decisive stage,” a senior government official said.

“An announcement can come any time soon.”

Any ban would essentially be symbolic given the scale of the current military offensive against the LTTE and its political capital, Kilinochchi.

The Tigers, who are already outlawed by the United States and the European Union, have been waging a drawn out campaign for independence for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil community.