Sri Lanka Celebrates 'Decisive' Win Over Rebels

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2009 3:20 PM CST
Sri Lankan soldiers secure the site of an explosion outside an Air Force camp in Colombo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Sri Lanka’s president called today’s seizure of a Tamil Tiger stronghold “an unparalleled victory” that could bring an end to the nation's 25-year civil war, the Times of London reports. Most observers, however, say the government will need to make some sort of political agreement with the rebels. As if to underscore the fragility of the win, a suicide bomber killed at least two at a base near the capital hours after the announcement.

“The capture of Kilinochchi is a military victory with potentially very significant political consequences,” an analyst said. “But the key word is potentially.” The Tigers have pledged to use guerrilla tactics if their territory is taken over by the government. The latest assault has also alienated the population: 250,000 have been displaced, and reports of corruption and militia vigilantism are rampant in army-held areas.