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Rajapakse challenges Prabhakaran

President Mahinda Rajapakse has challenged the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to “clash with him directly” without engaging in killing of innocent civilians and ministers.

world Updated: May 08, 2008 01:53 IST

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has challenged the elusive leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Velupillai Prabhakaran to “clash with him directly” and declared that his government would continue in its bid to flush rebels out of their stronghold in the north.

“I will challenge Prabhakaran to clash with me directly if possible without engaging in a killing spree of targeting innocent civilians, parliamentarians and ministers,” Rajapakse said after inaugurating the Oluvil port project in eastern Amparai district on Tuesday.

Rajapakse, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has said his ruling coalition “will never backtrack on its journey to liberate innocent civilians” living in the LTTE-held areas in the north.

“As much as the government liberated the people of the east from terrorism and enabled them to enjoy the fruits of freedom, the people of the north would also be given such an opportunity soon,” the state-run Daily News quoted the president as saying in Amparai.

The inauguration of the Oluvil port project comes two days before campaigning ends for the provincial council polls on May 10.