In yet another blow to beleaguered LTTE, 23 Tamil Tigers manning the rebels’ defence line on Sunday deserted the group and surrendered to the Sri Lankan army.
“As many as 23 LTTE cadres have surrendered so far on Sunday morning. They dressed themselves up as civilians and moved towards the army to surrender,” Sri Lankan military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara told PTI.
“We expect this to be the beginning and more LTTE rebels are expected to give themselves up,” he said.
The LTTE cadres, apprehending the near end of the LTTE’s offensives against army, chose to come out and give up as they realised the outfit was on the verge of being wiped out, a defence official said.
The army does not expect more than 700 LTTE cadres in the no-fire-zone near Pudukudiyirippu in Mullaittivu with many being new recruits.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Navy sunk three rebel boats and killed 12 Sea Tigers, a defence ministry official said.
While the UN estimates about 50,000 Tamil civilians to be caught in the LTTE areas, the Sri Lankan government puts the figure at between 10,000 and 15,000.
The army claimed that the LTTE hardcore team of about 300 militants guarding the top cadres including its leader V Prabhakaran are demoralised and are in disarray in the no conflict zone in Puthumathalam.