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.

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Surrender or face rout, Rajapksa tells LTTE;

6 04 2009
Surrender or face rout, Rajapksa tells LTTE; toll reaches 480
T V Sriram
Colombo, Apr 6 (PTI) With the LTTE remnants, including its top leaders, believed to be hiding in a narrow strip teeming with civilians, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today asked them to lay down arms or “face rout” as troops braced for a final battle after killing 480 rebels in four days of fighting.

With the operation turning more complex after the rebels were forced into the no-fire zone, the security forces are now preparing to rescue over 70,000 Tamil civilians trapped there.

Rajapaksa said there will be no ceasefire with the rebels and maintained that the troops will free the civilians, who, the government alleges, are being held hostage by the LTTE.

The rebel remnants, including their supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, second-in-command Pottu Amman and other senior commanders, are believed to be holed up in the 20 sq-km safety zone — a jungle strip along a beach in the north — after troops captured Pudukudiyirippu, the last LTTE bastion.

With recovery of more bodies of LTTE cadres from Pudukudiyirippu, the rebel toll in four days of close-quarter combat increased to 480, the military said today.

President Rajapaksa asked the LTTE, which have fought since 1983 for a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka, to surrender and avoid a “complete rout that is close now”.

“The only way out for the rebels is to save their lives, and if they lay down arms and surrender, it will save the lives of the trapped civilians too,” he said. PTI