Daily Archives: June 7, 2011

The Landscape of the LTTE’s Last Redoubt, May 2009

Michael Roberts, 7 June 2011

Pic by Eranga Jayawardena

In May 2011 we have seen different forms of commemoration of the coup de grace delivered to the LTTE as a fighting force in Sri Lankaas a result of the combined operations of the army, navy and air force. The government of Sri Lankahas organised their own versions of the type of celebratory commemoration that marked VE Day every 7th of May after World War Two ended. Pro-Tiger and Tamil nationalist elements in migrant circles abroad have marked it as day of reflection and protest. Gordon Weiss has chosen this moment to launch The Cage, a scathing attack on human rights violations by both sides during the Eelam War IV, as one part of a concerted movement targeting the Sri Lankan government as candidates for war crimes procedures (a campaign that carefully refrains from charging Rudrakumaran and others who were part of the LTTE’s official arms abroad in the 2000s).

  Since the events of May 2009 loom prominently now, it is pertinent to dwell pictorially on the locale of the final battle and the denouement of the LTTE. That locale was the strip of coast abutting Nandikadal Lagoon, to which the LTTE retreated by mid-April. It was an area decreed as a “No-Fire Zone” by the government on 12 February. I shall depict this territory as “the Last Redoubt.” This was an area that was approximately 13 by 4 kilometres in length and breadth. From February if not earlier this area had drawn a large proportion of the fleeing Tamil people whom the LTTE had corralled as a bargaining chip, labour pool and protective ‘sandbags’. Though no less a person than DBS Jeyaraj has described their situation as one of bondage under the LTTE,[1] in my conjecture a segment of those held ‘hostage’ were staunch Tiger supporters and willing ‘hostages’ right to the end. [2]

Figures 1 & 2. UAV photos of tent city in the Last Redoubt, probably late March before the battle entered this area. Phtotos supplied by Victor Ivan of Ravaya. Continue reading


Filed under historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, life stories, LTTE, military strategy, Rajapaksa regime, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, suicide bombing, Tamil migration, terrorism, world events & processes