The year has begun violently in Sri Lanka, the home of a decades long, and extremely violent, conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam a militant group committed to terrorist tactics, and the government, which has used violent crack down methods, as well as regular military efforts, to quelch the group. Tamils are an ethnic minority in the primarily Sinhalese country, and want an autonomous region with some economic independence. The government and the LTTE are effectively at war over territory in the north and south of the country.
On January 1, a Tamil opposition politician was shot while at prayers in a Hindu temple in Colombo.. The government claimed it was the work of the Tamil Tigers; another analysis suggests that it was the work of a Tamil militia associated with government security forces (and motivated by the minister's unwillingness to back an increased defense budget). On January 2, the government said that it would pull out of a ceasefire, established (though never fully held to, on either side) in 2002.
Violence between the two sides has escalated since the announcement. The Tamil Tigers are thought to be behind a roadside bomb set off on January 8 that killed a another Sri Lankan minister as well as a guard (a second bomb that day did not result in casualties). The government, fighting in Tamil territory in the north has claimed to have killed at least a hundred LTTE members in the days since. The Tamil Tigers have requested that a new ceasefire agreement be brokered by Norway.
Read more: Profile of Tamil Tigers