The Sri Lankan government effectively dismantled much of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), after cornering remaining LTTE fighters and several hundred thousand civilians in the northeast of the island. Though the government declared victory on May 18, in completing this military campaign, both sides suffered heavy losses. Earlier in the year, the LTTE carried out a number of attacks, including suicide bombings and an air raid on Colombo, but no further attacks occurred following the end of the war. On a number of occasions after May, the government announced the capture of suspected LTTE forces, often stating that those captured were intending to carry out violent attacks. Military and Sri Lankan Police Service personnel discovered large caches of weapons, ammunition, and military grade explosives that had been abandoned and left uncontrolled throughout the country. These items have been uncovered by government military forces, usually in the northern region most recently under LTTE control. The Sri Lankan Army remained deployed across the country once the war was over. Special Task Force (STF) police were deployed in the east, north, and in strategic locations in the west.

In 2009, there were over 40 attacks attributed to the LTTE, including:

  • On January 2, a suicide bomber killed two people and injured 32 in an attack at the Air Force Admin Base less than two miles from the US Embassy in Colombo.

  • On February 9, a female suicide bomber killed 30 people and injured 64 in an attack at a Mullaithivu IDP Rescue Center.

  • On March 10, a suicide bomber killed 14 and injured 46 people after he blew himself up in a mosque in Matara during a religious procession.

  • On April 20, a suicide bomber killed 17 people who were among thousands of Tamils fleeing the LTTE and who were seeking refuge with Sri Lankan military forces in Mullaithivu.

In spite of losing the war on the ground in Sri Lanka, the LTTE's international network of financial support was suspected to have survived largely intact. However, the international network likely suffered a serious blow by the August arrest in Southeast Asia and rendition to Sri Lanka of Selvarajah Patmanathan (aka KP), the LTTE's principle financier and arms supplier. This network continued to collect contributions from the Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Australia, where there were reports that some of these contributions were coerced by locally-based LTTE sympathizers. The LTTE also used Tamil charitable organizations as fronts for fundraising.

The Government of Sri Lanka cooperated with the United States to implement both the Container Security Initiative and the Megaports program at the port of Colombo.


This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.