HT Image
HT Image

Two top LTTE leaders surrender; 95,000 escape war zone

Two key Tamil Tiger officials surrendered today as Sri Lankan troops pressed a final offensive against the rebels. Among the top rebels who turned themselves in was the Tigers' chief spokesman Velayudam Dayanidi, better known as Daya Master. Another official, who was an aide to the late head of the Tigers' political wing, SP Thamilselvan, also surrendered. Listen to podcastaudio | See pics: Great Escape
By Amal Jayasinghe | AFP, Colombo
UPDATED ON APR 22, 2009 09:15 PM IST

Two key Tamil Tiger officials surrendered Wednesday as Sri Lankan troops pressed a final offensive against the rebels despite an international outcry over the fate of trapped civilians.

Among the top rebels who turned themselves in was the Tigers' main mouthpiece to the outside world, their chief spokesman Velayudam Dayanidi, better known as Daya Master.

Another official, who was an aide to the late head of the Tigers' political wing, S.P. Thamilselvan, also surrendered.

The government's defence spokesman said more than 80,000 people had fled the shrinking patch of territory still controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), saying troops were "rescuing" and not harming civilians caught up in the war.

"Our operations to rescue civilians is continuing," Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters, describing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a spent force with just 12 square kilometres (five square miles) of land left.

"The LTTE has lost all its military capabilities. They are fighting a losing battle," he said, adding the government also "strongly believes" that Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, 54, was still in the area.

The defence ministry gave Prabhakaran and his fighters until Tuesday to surrender, but the rebels ignored the deadline and have continued to fight.

The LTTE, who have been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland since 1972, has acknowledged losing ground. But the group has accused the government of killing 1,000 civilians in recent days.

The military insists it has aided the escape of 81,420 men, women and children this week. It said those fleeing were fired on by the rebels, who are alleged to have kept villagers to use as human shields.

The rival claims are hard to verify as independent reporters are not allowed near the conflict zone, but aid agencies have painted a grim picture.

"The situation is nothing short of catastrophic," said Pierre Kraehenbuehl, operations director for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"What we are seeing is intense fighting in a very small area overcrowded with civilians who have fled there," he said.

He estimated there could be tens of thousands more people still inside rebel-held territory, while facilities for those who had reached relative safety were overstretched.

The United States and other nations have urged both Sri Lankan troops and Tiger rebels not to fire indiscriminately, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked that UN staff be allowed to enter the area for relief operations.

"The casualties are certainly in the thousands and have been fairly consistently high running throughout the last couple of months, as the patch of (LTTE) territory has narrowed and really diminished," said Gordon Weiss, the UN spokesman in Colombo.

The apparent endgame in Sri Lanka has triggered protests around the world, with up to 30,000 Tamil demonstrators clogging the Canadian capital Ottawa to press for mediation.

Similar rallies have been held in London and Paris.

The LTTE were once considered as one of the world's most efficient guerrilla outfits, lording over a third of Sri Lanka's territory and running a de facto mini-state.

A Norwegian-brokered truce between the government and the rebels began falling apart in December 2005, and fighting since then has seen the progressive collapse of the rebel army.

Last month the UN's human rights chief said both sides in the conflict may be guilty of war crimes.



SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Barricades are seen outside the Saint Lucia's Cathedral, the main Roman Catholic church in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo. (AFP)
Barricades are seen outside the Saint Lucia's Cathedral, the main Roman Catholic church in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo. (AFP)

Easter Sunday bombings: Lankan Catholic Church declares Black Sunday on March 7

AP, Colombo
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 11:03 PM IST
  • Church leaders have asked their congregations to attend Mass on Sunday dressed in black. Church bells will toll at 8: 45 a.m., the time of the near-simultaneous attacks.
Close
As reported by Mashable, Amazon would not officially admit that this was the reason behind the redesigning icon.(REUTERS)
As reported by Mashable, Amazon would not officially admit that this was the reason behind the redesigning icon.(REUTERS)

Amazon tweaks its app icon after 'Hitler moustache' comparison

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | ANI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:33 PM IST
  • The new design is very similar, but the adhesive tape strip has been redesigned to look nothing like a moustache.
Close
In April 2020, the bank set up a mechanism to offer emergency assistance program loans to its member countries(Reuters)
In April 2020, the bank set up a mechanism to offer emergency assistance program loans to its member countries(Reuters)

BRICS bank grants over USD 1 billion Covid-19 assistance loan to China

PTI, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:31 PM IST
This is the second emergency loan for the same amount approved by the NDB to help China fight the pandemic.
Close
Workers wearing protective suits walk past the graves of Covid-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery, in Manaus, Brazil.(AFP)
Workers wearing protective suits walk past the graves of Covid-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery, in Manaus, Brazil.(AFP)

Coronavirus variant infected many already recovered from Covid-19: Study

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:10 PM IST
  • The researchers estimated that the variant evades 25-61 per cent of protective immunity arising from infection with previously circulating variants.
Close
Residents wearing masks to protect from the coronavirus visits a popular retail street near a poster advocating for vaccination to fight the coronavirus on the third day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. (AP Photo)
Residents wearing masks to protect from the coronavirus visits a popular retail street near a poster advocating for vaccination to fight the coronavirus on the third day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing. (AP Photo)

Aim to vaccinate 40% citizens by end of July: China

Reuters, Beijing
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:12 PM IST
Zhong Nanshan, a coronavirus expert who helped shape China's COVID-19 response, said on Monday the current ratio of vaccine doses administered per 100 people in China is 3.56, much lower than those in Israel, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Close
A general view of the Chinese-managed terminal of the Colombo port is seen from the Galle Face promenade in Colombo. (AFP)
A general view of the Chinese-managed terminal of the Colombo port is seen from the Galle Face promenade in Colombo. (AFP)

Sri Lanka offers to develop new port terminal with India, Japan amid differences

PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:41 PM IST
  • Caving in to pressure from labour unions, Sri Lanka decided on February 1 to scrap the agreement signed with India and Japan on developing the East Container Terminal (ECT) of Colombo port.
Close
Lou Jiwei, chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF), speaks at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China in this file photo from 2018. (REUTERS)
Lou Jiwei, chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF), speaks at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China in this file photo from 2018. (REUTERS)

China's ex-finance minister says nation's fiscal situation 'extremely severe'

ANI, Beijing
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:15 PM IST
Lou offered his sharp critique in December but the assessment has only been made public more recently, with just days to go before China's political elites meet for their annual legislative session.
Close
The army seized power after its allegations of fraud in Nov. 8 elections were rejected.. (AP Photo)(AP)
The army seized power after its allegations of fraud in Nov. 8 elections were rejected.. (AP Photo)(AP)

Doctors, teachers, a fortune-teller amongst Myanmar's new wave of detainees

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:24 PM IST
  • Some detainees are survivors of prison under the former junta. Some were taken from their homes, hundreds were seized by riot police and soldiers who charged down protests against the coup
Close
Vernon Jordan arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the kickoff of former US President Bill Clinton's memoirs.(REUTERS / File Photo)
Vernon Jordan arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the kickoff of former US President Bill Clinton's memoirs.(REUTERS / File Photo)

US rights activist, former Clinton advisor Vernon Jordan dies at 85: Report

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:13 PM IST
Jordan's role as a Washington insider took him all the way to the White House, where he was a close friend and adviser to President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Close
US President Joe Biden called the jailing of Navalny “politically motivated.”(Bloomberg)
US President Joe Biden called the jailing of Navalny “politically motivated.”(Bloomberg)

US announces sanctions on Russian officials, businesses for Navalny's poisoning

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:42 PM IST
  • The sanctions are the first ordered by President Joe Biden against Russia and will help set the tone for his relations with Putin.
Close
Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan in this file photo in this file photo from 2012. (AP Photo)
Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan in this file photo in this file photo from 2012. (AP Photo)

Taliban collecting funds openly, Pak govt turning blind eye: Report

ANI, Islamabad
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:25 PM IST
Afridi said, "Whenever there are important meetings of important organisations like the United Nations and FATF, these terrorists and terrorist organisations are banned but the moment these meetings are finished, they resurface".
Close
The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden, New Jersey, US.(REUTERS)
The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden, New Jersey, US.(REUTERS)

Merck to help make Johnson & Johnson's single-shot Covid-19 vaccine: Report

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:29 PM IST
US-based Merck halted the development of two of its own coronavirus vaccines in January to instead focus on its two Covid-19 treatments.
Close
Sri Lanka announced on Tuesday that it would develop another terminal — West Container Terminal — at the same port with India and Japan.(Reuters | Representational image)
Sri Lanka announced on Tuesday that it would develop another terminal — West Container Terminal — at the same port with India and Japan.(Reuters | Representational image)

Sri Lanka approves new port development with India and Japan

AP, Colombo
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:15 PM IST
Sri Lanka halted the 2019 agreement for India and Japan to develop and operate the crucial East Container Terminal at Colombo Port after weeks of protests by trade unions and opposition parties.
Close
A German police staff member receives AstraZeneca's vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Munich, Germany.(REUTERS)
A German police staff member receives AstraZeneca's vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Munich, Germany.(REUTERS)

Covid-19: Which countries have most number of fully vaccinated people?

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:08 PM IST
  • The number of fully vaccinated people are nowhere near the number of doses administered since most of the countries are using Covid-19 vaccines that require a two-doses regimen.
Close
Since January 2020, Austria has had a coalition government under center-right Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that includes the environmentalist Green party, which oversees the powerful climate, environment and energy ministry.(Pixabay/ Representational Photo)
Since January 2020, Austria has had a coalition government under center-right Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that includes the environmentalist Green party, which oversees the powerful climate, environment and energy ministry.(Pixabay/ Representational Photo)

Multiple sclerosis patient sues Austria over health impact of climate change

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 07:06 PM IST
  • The case being filed next month before the European Court of Human Rights is supported by the environmental group Fridays for Future, which is helping to crowdfund the legal costs.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP