400 LTTE cadres killed

6 04 2009

400 LTTE cadres killed B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan military on Sunday claimed that over 400 cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, including half-a-dozen senior leaders, were killed as the forces captured the last stretch of land under the Tigers’ control outside the 20 sq. km. government-demarcated ‘no-fire zone’ (NFZ).

According to the Defence Ministry, the forces ousted the LTTE from over a kilometre of land east of Puthukkudiyirippu after pitched battles with the Tiger cadres.

The military believes that the remaining 500 cadres and leaders of the LTTE, including its chief Velupillai Prabakaran and intelligence wing chief Pottu Amman, have retreated into the NFZ where thousands of civilians are trapped.

There was not a word from the LTTE on the military claims. The last update on the LTTE official website was on February 24. The site was revived in the third week of February after a gap of three weeks. The estimates of civilians held up in the NFZ vary from 50,000 to 100,000. The advance of the military into the NFZ is a delicate and complicated task, particularly since there are no signs of surrender by the LTTE.

As per the military, over 250 cadres of the LTTE were killed in hand-to-hand combat since Saturday night. Among senior Tiger rankers listed as dead by the Ministry are Theepan (LTTE’s former ‘Northern region’ chief), Ruben, Nagesh, Gadaphi (former bodyguard of Prabakaran), Vidusha (‘Malathi’ female wing head), Durga (‘Soothiya’ female wing head) and Kamalini.