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War with LTTE nearly over, says Sri Lankan Army chief

T V Sriram in Colombo | November 04, 2008 15:04 IST

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The War in Lanka
Sri Lankan Army Chief Sarath Fonseka has claimed that decades-old war against the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam in the restive north is nearly completed and about 12,000 Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed during the past-two-and-half years.

"Over 80 per cent of the war against the LTTE [Images] has been completed after regaining 80 per cent of the areas under them and killing over 12,000 of their cadres," Lieutenant General Fonseka said. Fonseka's remarks came on Monday as the troops reached about seven kilometres south of Kilali lagoon which separates the Jaffna peninsula from the mainland.

"At the inception of the war they did not have a 12,000 strength but we are confident that 12,000 of their cadres were killed during the past-two-and half years as they recruited a large number of cadres to the outfit to strengthen their depleting ranks," Fonseka said after participating in a ceremony at the Buddhist city of Anuradhapura, north of Colombo.

"We are sure that we will be able to see an end to this war soon though we cannot give deadlines to reach this task," Fonseka was quoted as saying by the state run Daily News. He also said that he is confident that he can complete the task of defeating the LTTE during his tenure.

"With these gains, we will soon be able to open a land route to Jaffna," he said. The Tiger bodies captured by the troops within the past few weeks very clearly indicate that they are deploying their police, political cadres and intelligence cadres to confront the advancing troops, Fonseka said.

He said though Kilinochchi was the main focus of the ground troops, they have marched more than 10 km north of Kilinochchi from the western front.

"With the newly formed Task Force III starting its operations from Monday in the north of Mankulam, troops are poised to march from the west to the east in four fronts to capture Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu," Fonseka said.

He said though the areas from Omanthai to Mankulam has not been taken under troops control, these areas are very much under the control of troops as Special Forces and Commando troops are controlling these areas.

"The areas in south of Mankulam to northeastern Weli Oya is under troops control as only a handful of Tiger cadres are operating in this area," he said.

"We have destroyed all the LTTEs strongholds there and according to our reports only five Tiger cadres are operating in the Omanthai entry exit point," he said.

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