The widely circulated Observer magazine distributed with the Observer newspaper said, in a four page in-depth article, by targeting innocent civilians the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is fast losing whatever sympathies they had earlier.
The magazine in an article entitled, "Lost in Paradise" said, the Tamil Tigers "are going for the softest targets of all, the impoverished working people of Sri Lanka."
Referring to Sri Lanka's North, the magazine said, "Here are not only the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) but their offshoot, the Black Tigers, , the suicide squads. According to Jane's information Group, between 1980-2000 the Tigers had carried out a total of 168 suicide attacks on civilian and military targets, easily exceeding those in the same period by Hezbollah and Hamas combined. And now today, thwarted on their attacks on the government and the military, they are going for the softest targets of all, the impoverished working people of Sri Lanka."
"For all those decades of suicide practice, you'd think they might be getting the hang of it by now. But in Colombo's Fort Railway Station , a few weeks before my visit , it all went wrong again . A female suicide bomber coming off a train from the South was spotted acting oddly by police-too many clothes for the cloying heat - and fled from the turnstile back into the station. By platform three she sat down and exploded. She took 11 others with her....The 11 dead included half a high school baseball team, and 92 were injured," wrote Observer staffer, Euan Ferguson.
He categorically said in the article, "Sri Lanka's war is escalating once again. But this time, it is the country's poorest who are suffering."
Founded in 1791 the Liberal Democratic leaning left of centre publication with a circulation of approximately 455,000 also referred to an incident where the Tamil Tigers were not that successful in blowing up the impoverished working civilians: "one passenger, Indrani Fernando, saw a suspicious bag left under a seat near the back. 'When no one claimed it I told the crew and shouted at people to get off,' she says. The bus halted in a middle of a junction and everyone filed off and began walking away, rather quickly and the police were called. Twenty seconds after the driver and conductor had climbed off, the bomb exploded. Ten passers-by were injured, among them children. Indrani later took a congratulatory call from, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, thanking her for her vigilance. I go to see the bus, towed two miles away. The carcass is eviscerated, skeletal: no one would have survived."
How the Tamil Tigers have increasingly started targeting unarmed civilians Ferguson further wrote: "Just before I arrived in Sri Lanka , another bus had been blown up a couple of kilometres outside Dambulla, an ancient holy rest stop on the journey to the East. The 18 killed were almost all pilgrims and included children. In the remote Southern town of Buttala the rebels had recently failed to kill most of the passengers on a bus with a simple bomb; so they gunned down 32 of them as they fled, in flames."
"Desperate tactics have been adopted by the Tigers, but there are increasing signs that by targeting innocent civilians they are fast losing whatever sympathies they once had within the majority Sinhalese population."
The writer who has returned to the country after the devastating Boxing Day tsunami calls the Indian Ocean island one of the most kind places on earth despite the violence: "This is one of the kindest countries on earth. Smiles, genuine, empathetic, as natural as waterfall. Even when I was here following the tsunami, I was struck repeatedly by the welcomes from those who had nothing, both the majority Sinhalese and Tamils. And, still you can head south from Colombo without a care in the world, take a breezy taxi to the beaches and beauty of Galle.