The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were putting up stiff resistance to stall the fall of their final stronghold Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) in the north-eastern district of Mullaitivu.
The Lankan defence ministry admitted on Wednesday that fierce fighting was going on between the Sri Lankan army (SLA) and the rebel cadres.
In another development, Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi have opted out from SAARC foreign ministers’ conference scheduled to be held here over the weekend.
While foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon is here for the meet, minister of state for external affairs A Ahamad would be here instead of Mukherjee.
On the war front, the defence ministry claimed that several LTTE cadres were killed and many more injured in the fight. Quoting sources on the battlefront, the ministry said: “LTTE cadres facing heavy defeat and retaliation from the security forces, fled the area leaving arms and bodies. Scores of LTTE cadres were killed and many wounded.’’
Army snipers deployed north of PTK, located more than 380 km north-east of Colombo, shot dead six LTTE cadres ahead of the defence line, military report received from the battlefront said.
The SLA’s search operations in areas captured yielded eight rebel bodies and eight T-56 weapons.
The pro-rebel website, TamilNet, claimed that SLA had suffered heavy casualties in the PTK operations. “Heavy fighting has been reported west of PTK where SLA divisions 58 and 53 have suffered heavy casualties throughout the last 3 days, according to the sources close to the LTTE,’’ the website said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has said the UN has not officially informed him of any call for a ceasefire.