Tigers itching for major offensive in Vavuniya?
LTTE mum, only rumour, claim Govt. officials
A mini exodus of people from Vavuniya and other parts of the North to safer areas has begun in recent days with the spread of a rumour about a Tiger offensive after February 22, the fifth anniversary of the Ceasefire Agreement.
Government officials however said it was only a rumour that has been circulating for about two to three weeks, but there has been no indication or warning from the LTTE to confirm or deny it.
A top official in Vavuniya maintained that he was only aware of random fleeing by certain civilians facing threats, but there could be others who were leaving without informing anyone.
An informed northern source said that in the village of Marambakulam in Vavuniya alone more than hundred civilians had fled in recent days to safer areas.
Some of those fleeing are said to be selling their properties for a song, especially to make it across to Tamil Nadu.
As this rumour has gained currency even within Tamil migrant communities in Europe and Canada, observers said it could be an LTTE ruse to raise more funds.
But they acknowledged that LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran was now desperate to show some results after suffering a string of humiliating defeats in the East and even retaining its last strongholds there like Toppigala and Kokkadicholai was in doubt with the organization unable to induct reinforcements to the region.
Meanwhile, both the LTTE and its breakaway group led by Karuna Amman are said to have stepped up recruitment of child soldiers in uncleared areas despite all their undertakings not to do so. This has even resulted in parents sending their children for employment to the up-country and other areas, rather than allowing them to attend schools. Many children have been abducted as they go to attend schools and tuition classes.