"The rebels have been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority after years of marginalization at the hands of the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that after defeating the rebels, his government will begin talks toward power sharing and political reconciliation between the two communities. But many Tamils are skeptical that the victorious government will be willing to make real concessions.
At their height, the rebels controlled 5,400 square miles (14,000 square kilometers), nearly one-fifth of this Indian Ocean island nation.
They had a conventional army complete with artillery batteries, a large navy and even a nascent air force, funded by an estimated $200 million to $300 million a year they made from smuggling, fraud and appeals to Tamil expatriates. They also carried out hundreds of suicide attacks — including the 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi — and were listed as a terror group by the U.S., European Union and India.
A 2002 cease-fire briefly halted the fighting, but it broke down more than three years ago, and Rajapaksa vowed to destroy the rebels. With victory all but assured, Rajapaksa raced home from a trip abroad and was blessed at the airport Sunday morning by Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu and Muslim clerics. He scheduled a nationally televised news conference for Tuesday morning at Parliament.
Sri Lankans poured into the streets of the capital, Colombo, lighting firecrackers, dancing to the beat of traditional drums, waving the flag and hugging soldiers."
Read the rest at the Yahoo news article.
Congradulations & thank you to everyone who sacrificed to bring a war that most likely they themselves did not start (the seeds of this war was present when Ceylon/Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, and ripened with anti-Tamil activity in the 50's, 60's, 70's & ultimately the Black July massacre in 1983) to an end.
Hopefully Sri Lanka will now have peace for a long time to come.
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