100 LTTE fighters killed: Lankan Govt | world | Hindustan Times
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100 LTTE fighters killed: Lankan Govt

world Updated: Mar 08, 2009 00:14 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

More than 100 cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in intense fighting in the last 48 hours, the Sri Lankan military claimed on Saturday.

At least 42 rebels were also injured in the same period, the military added.

Heavy fighting has been reported around the area of Puthukkudiyirippu (PTK) in the northeastern district of Mullaitivu. The remaining cadres, including around 400 trained recruits, are now confined within an area of 45 square kilometers.

On the run
Around 400 LTTE recruits are now confined within an area of 45 square kilometers.

About 36,000 civilians have moved to government-run camps from areas controlled by the LTTE.

LTTE cadres continue to be surrounded by tens of thousands of displaced civilians sandwiched between rebels and advancing SLA troops.
The defence ministry said that the LTTE personnel were fighting desperately and firing heavy artillery and mortar from within the declared no-fire zone.

Neither defence ministry nor the military however released army's casualty figures. Reports have indicated that the final phase of the battle is also taking a heavy toll on the Sri Lankan army (SLA).

The LTTE cadres continue to be surrounded by tens of thousands of displaced civilians sandwiched between rebels and advancing SLA troops. About 36000 civilians have moved to government-run camps from areas controlled by the LTTE. While the government says a little more than 70000 civilians are now in LTTE-controlled areas, rights groups have put it between a lakh and 2.5 lakh.

Unconfirmed reports also suggested on Friday that more than a dozen displaced civilians had died of starvation. The government was quick to deny it.

``The Government has taken all possible measures to provide food and medicines to the people of the North, including IDPs in places arranged for their shelter and care by the government, as well as, to those continued to be held as a human shield by the LTTE. It is a well known fact for many years that the LTTE forcibly takes most of the food and medicines sent to the civilians for use by its own fighting cadres,'' the Presidential Secretariat said in statement on Saturday.

However, the government later dispatched sea freighter Win Tang, carrying the biggest shipment of food and medicine, from the Colombo port to Mullaitivu. The ship is carrying 500 metric tonnes of food, rations and medicines for the displaced civilians.

"This is the biggest shipment dispatched since the beginning of the humanitarian war in the North so far, as the previous shipments have been so meager in relation carrying around 10 - 15 MTs of food," Commissioner of Essential Services SB Divarathna said.