Fatalities Rise Sharply as Sri Lanka Reverts to War

The South Asia Terrorism Portal has tabulated the annual number of conflict-related deaths in Sri Lanka, based on news reports. The figures in the table below clearly indicate that violence was much reduced following the 2002 ceasefire, even though the number of killings started to creep up again. The number of deaths so far during 2006 already surpass those in 2001 and may match those suffered in 2000.
YearCiviliansGovernment TroopsTamil TigersTotal
2000*1627842,8453,791
2001894121,3211,822
2002141015
20033122659
200433769109
20051539087330
2006**6313561,2002,187
*From March. **Up to 23 August 2006.

Note: The Portal refers to the Tamil Tigers as terrorists and to conflict deaths as casualties of terrorist violence. While some of the Tigers’ actions can undoubtedly be categorized as terrorist, a blanket characterization is unhelpful both with regard to understanding the origins and nature of the violence and vis-à-vis conflict resolution efforts. It also presumes that the Tigers are responsible for all deaths, effectively absolving the government from any culpability.