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Prabhakaran trapped, war in final phase: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka said on Tuesday that LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran remains 'trapped' in a tiny coastal strip in the north and will not be allowed to escape, as troops entered a delicate phase of the war with world keeping an eye on the fate of civilians caught in the conflict. "Soldiers have almost wiped out 30-year-old terrorist menace, and we are in the final phase of putting the final touches to the brutal war," SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

world Updated: May 05, 2009 23:48 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times

The Sri Lankan military on Tuesday for the first time claimed to have cornered LTTE chief V Prabhakaran and other rebel leaders within a 4.5 square km area or the `no fire zone’ (NFZ).

The Sri Lankan army (SLA) till now had said that did not have any information to say that Prabhakaran had slipped away from the NFZ. They would only say on record that it was likely that he continued to hide among the civilians in the NFZ.

On Tuesday, however, the defence ministry indicated that the military knew exactly where Prabhakaran was hiding. Two days ago they had issued hazy satellite pictures of an enclosure, claiming it to be the LTTE chief’s bunker.

“Security forces have now cornered the remaining LTTE cadre including its most wanted terror chiefs into a mere land South of Rektavaikkal,’’ the defence ministry said on Tuesday.

But the remaining cadres of the LTTE continue to put up stiff resistance, the military said. “According to ground information received, troops are advancing with utmost restraint into the remaining swathe of the NFZ, avoiding any form of civilian casualties despite continuous and provocative LTTE mortar and direct roll artillery barrages,’’ the ministry said.

China, meanwhile, announced On Tuesday that it will give one million U.S. dollars in humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka to help the civilians affected by the conflict there.

First Published: May 05, 2009 21:35 IST