London, May 1 (ANI): The support enjoyed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) among Sri Lanka's Tamils will make it hard for the Lankan Army to neutralise them in the north-east, as the movement will retain the capacity and perhaps the public support to launch terror strikes and suicide attacks, analysts have said.
"They're not terrorists," said a former government worker living in Colombo's Bambalapitiya neighbourhood, correcting his friend for use of the word. "They're freedom fighters - 99.99 per cent of Tamil people support them, but they are not in a position to show it."
Analysts say that even if the rebels in the country's northeast are neutralised in the coming days, the movement will retain alive, The Independent reports.
"As a viable insurgency they are finished but they will still be able to operate as a terrorist organisation," said Bahukutumbi Raman, a former security advisor to the Indian Government.
Despite international calls for a ceasefire, a bloody end appears the most likely outcome for the fewer than 1,000 rebels cornered in a two-square mile patch with up to 50,000 civilians.
A day after the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, called for a humanitarian ceasefire, the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, rejected their calls, the paper reports.
"The government is not ready to enter into any kind of ceasefire," he said. "It is my duty to protect the people of this country. I don't need lectures from Western representatives."
The LTTE and its leader, Velupillai Prabakharan, said they would never surrender but called for international help to enforce a ceasefire.
It is impossible to accurately gauge the level of support for the LTTE. Fearful of the government and equally fearful of speaking out, most Tamils talk about suffering routine discrimination, The Independent reports.
They talk of their fear when passing through the ubiquitous check-points and how the troops might arbitrarily decide to detain them. (ANI)