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95% of East freed from LTTE: Mahinda

The president says LTTE is cynically using North and East people as human shield, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2007 13:27 IST

With the capture of Vaharai last week, the Sri Lankan Armed Forces had freed 95 per cent of the Eastern Province from the grip of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said here on Sunday.

"The victory enabled the reopening of the A-15 Batticaloa-Trincomalee highway which was shut for 15 years," he said.

"Steps are being taken to resettle over 40,000 people liberated from the terrorists' clutches," he added.

Pointing out that the LTTE was cynically using the people of the North and East as a human shield, the president said that now, liberated from its clutches, the people there would be able to live "in freedom and without fear."

LTTE attacks food ship

While mopping up operations by the Sri Lankan forces and the TMVP were going on in Batticaloa district on Sunday, leading to the death of 31 LTTE cadres fleeing Vaharai, the LTTE's Sea Tigers attacked a food ship "City of Liverpool" off Point Pedro in the northern district of Jaffna.

In the confrontation between the Sri Lankan Navy and the attackers, the food ship was damaged, and had to be towed to the Kankesanthurai harbour subsequently.

First Published: Jan 22, 2007 13:25 IST