Thursday, April 23, 2009

The largest hostage rescue in the world's history

(By : Professor Sunil J. Wimalawansa)

Hostage takings have been reported sporadically, throughout the world. 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 three days 60,000 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 current Sri Lankan 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 Sri Lankan government. Many who attempted to escape were shot or maimed. 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 missions.

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