After 26-Year War, Sri Lanka Struggles with Peace
Ethnic tensions remain as Tamil rebels lay down arms
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2009 8:28 AM CDT
Images of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his arms raised in a gesture of victory, are plastered on billboards across Colombo proclaiming him king and the savior of the nation.    (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
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(Newser) – The Sri Lankan government finally prevailed in its 26-year civil war with Tamil rebels with a brutal campaign, leaving thousands dead and 300,000 displaced. Now, reports the Wall Street Journal, the country must try living in peace after years of assassinations and abductions from both sides. Tamils "should be able to live without fear and mistrust," said the country's president—but ethnic tensions are still flaring.

Despite the brutality of the war's last months, the government has rejected proposals for a truth and reconciliation commission, and press censorship remains in force. Many Tamil rebels have laid down their weapons, and some are participating in rehabilitation programs, but peace remains an uncertain prospect. "I no longer want to be part of the violence," said one former rebel—but he fears being targeted in a revenge killing if he returns home.