I The fighting pitted government troops against Tamil Tiger rebels demanding an independent state in the north and east of the island. Hundreds of thousands of
Sri Lankans have been displaced across the island due to the war. Some were uprooted again during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Landmines and explosive debris have left large areas uninhabitable. The fighting has also laid waste to agricultural land, contributing to child malnutrition. The use of child soldiers, some as young as nine, by both sides in the conflict has added to the tragedy. A ceasefire was agreed in 2002 and the rebels dropped their demand for an independent state, settling for regional autonomy. But violence surged at the end of 2005 and the Tigers reverted to their original demand for all-out independence. A relentless military offensive has since retaken the 15,000 sq km the rebels ran as a separate state in the north and east.
Tens of thousands of civilians who were until recently trapped between troops and rebels in the final war zone in the northeast of the island are now living in government-run camps where aid agencies are helping to feed and shelter them.
Source : http://www.alertnet.org/db/crisisprofiles/LK_CON.htm
Full name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Population: 20.2 million (UN, 2009)
Capital: Colombo (commercial), Sri Jayawardenepura (administrative)
Major religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity
Major languages: Sinhala, Tamil, English