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Needs another Year to Finish off LTTE - Sri Lankan Army Chief

Jun 30, 2008, 17:33 Digg this story!

Colombo - The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan security forces (SF) clashes intensely in Mannar, Muhamaalai, Vavuniya and Manalaaru as SF troopers trying to advance into the LTTE held  area using tanks, heavy artillery and mortar. LTTE offering stiff resistances in all fronts and causing heavy SF troops casualties for the last two years, according to a military observer in Colombo.


Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's army chief, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said Monday his forces had wiped out the conventional military capability of the Tamil Tigers, and that they needed just one more year to totally defeat the LTTE as the LTTE had been forced to resort to hit-and-run attacks.


"From about the beginning of the year, the LTTE has lost its conventional capability," Fonseka told foreign correspondents in Colombo. "They are no longer fighting as a conventional army."


He said the Tigers were not using heavy artillery and mortars, but that there were clashes in the island's embattled northern areas on a daily basis.


"We have already defeated them (as a conventional army). They have lost that capability. Although they are fighting with us, it is not in the same manner."


"Earlier, we couldn't move one kilometer for two, three months. That type of resistance is not there any more."


Early this year, Sri Lanka's army chief, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said his forces would capture the entire Vanni region before the Singhala new year of 2008. He said, only 5000 LTTE carders are holding Vanni and he would finish them off before the new year 2008 and he said he will not leave the fighting to his successor when he retire end of this year.


According to the government figures, already Sri Lankan forces have killed at least 4, 200 LTTE carders up to the last week from January this year. Only few dozens of the LTTE fighters are left to fight with the Sri Lankan 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59 and 61 divisions supported by whole whacks of infantry mechanized divisions in the Vanni region, another military observer pointed out to TNS in Colombo.


Sri Lanka's army chief said his forces had just wrested control over the entire coastal district of Mannar, along the north-western sea board of the island, after nine months of fighting which claimed the lives of 170 government troops and during the same period, the Tigers lost at least 2,000 fighters.


He admitted during last two years of Army offensive against the LTTE, the military lost 1,700 soldiers killed and another 4,000 wounded.


For the first time in the decades-old conflict, he said the Sri Lankan army was working to a set strategy. "We don't go for the territory, we go for the kill," he said. Sri Lanka's army chief said the objective of the LTTE, was to capture the entire island and wipe out the majority Sinhalese community.


Three decades old civil war in Sri Lanka killed at least 215,000 people according to the surveys done by the UN World Health Organization and data released by them recently.


Most reports so far reported as 70,000 people have died in the Sri Lankan conflict most of them were ethnic Tamils. In the escalated fighting between the SF and LTTE in the north and east of Sri Lanka at least half a million people internally displaced and over million people externally displaced. At least 5,800 people have been killed in last two years alone, a right group said.


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