KILINOCHCHI, May 19, 2010 (AFP) – The wreckage left by a brutal war has created a new tourist trail in Sri Lanka just a year after the Tamil Tiger rebels were crushed by government forces. “I make about 500 rupees (four dollars) a day,” says Kilinochchi native N. Seelan, who sells palmyrah-based sweets to tourists.
A few miles further up the highway, past hundreds of bomb-blasted trees, dozens of families from the majority Sinhalese community crowd around the burnt shell of a bulldozer used as a makeshift tank by the rebels.
Armed soldiers act as tour guides at the site, narrating battlefield victories to onlookers who pose for pictures. Children amuse themselves by climbing onto the bulldozer.
Since the main highway re-opened to civilian traffic in December, thousands of visitors have headed to Jaffna, an area that was off-limits during the height of the fighting.
Any location remotely connected to the rebels or military victories is eagerly sought out.
“Nearly everyone travelling from the south takes a photograph in front of the fallen water tower, the bulldozer and vehicle yards with burnt or stolen Tamil Tiger vehicles,” says a soldier running a military food s