While skirmishing between rebel insurgents and Ceylonese troops continues on the island, and Indian and Pakistani forces patrol in search of the terrorists, life in the capital, Colombo, is relatively peaceful.
While skirmishing between rebel insurgents and Ceylonese troops continues on the island, and Indian and Pakistani forces patrol in search of the terrorists, life in the capital, Colombo, is relatively peaceful. Foreign military forces on the island include Indian helicopters, troops and navy frigates, and Pakistani helicopters. This situationer, one of the few news films to come out of Ceylon during the two-week-old troubles, shows normal civilian activity in Colombo, police and helicopter search patrols, and the Indian frigates in harbour.
SYNOPSIS: Colombo -- capital of the strife-torn island of Ceylon. The city has remained one of the relatively peaceful places on the island since left-wing insurgent violence exploded into bloodshed earlier this month. News film coverage of the situation there is difficult, as curfews and security precautions have hampered journalists in their work.
Civilian life in Colombo appears to continue fairly normally while Government security forces, aided by Pakistani helicopters and Indian frigates, troops and helicopters, mount a search-and-destroy operation against the "Che Guevara"-type uprising. Real activity seems to be confined to the island's north-east, and a large triangle in the centre where terrain difficulties hamper security forces in their operations. Several rebels captured by police have been reportedly executed without trial, and others have been killed in battle. The police chief in charge of operations has refused to hold talks with the rebels. His job, he said, was to destroy them.
Meanwhile, as the Government claims that only pockets of resistance now remain, including some police posts still in rebel hands, a six p.m. to six a.m. curfew continues. In the harbour lie Indian navy frigates -- part of a force of five warships patrolling the coastal waters in search of terrorist activity.
In the air, searches are conducted by Pakistani and Indian helicopters manned by their own country's crews. The Ceylon Government itself is very short of any sort of air power for anti-terrorists operations -- merely an occasional helicopter and a light aircraft or two. Field communications equipment is also in short supply. In Colombo itself, ordinary police check civilian security.
The Government is showing no mercy towards rebels. This according to news reports, is because it wants to avoid a long, drawn-out guerrilla war.