The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Lanka to censor war casualty figures

The Sri Lanka government on Friday decided to censor casualty figures coming out of the northern battle fields where its armed forces are locked in battle with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Independent verification of the fighting and casualties is anyway not possible because journalists are banned from the war zone. Both the LTTE and the Lankan defence ministry are accused of exaggerating enemy casualties and underreporting their own.

Also, claims made by the armed forces about LTTE casualty often do not match their own estimate of the Tigers’ strength.

The LTTE also seldom publishes the casualty figures of their own cadres. Friday's decision would make it even more difficult to get the correct picture of the war situation. The defence ministry said that it decided “suspend the reporting of all casualty figures in relation to the ongoing counter terrorist operation in Wanni. This is in consideration of the continuing advance of the security forces there and the need for operational security, whereby such reportage may impede the successful accomplishment of the mission.”

Meanwhile, an additional 51 lorries carrying essential services and goods were dispatched to the conflict areas on Friday, said Essential Services Commissioner S B Divarathne.