|Sri Lanka: Military seizes key rebel-held town|
|Monday, 01 December 2008|
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lankan soldiers have recaptured a key northern town near the headquarters of Tamil Tiger rebels 18 years after the area was seized by the insurgents, the military said Monday.
Troops seized Kokavil town, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of the insurgents' de facto capital of Kilinochchi, on Sunday, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. He did not give casualty details.
The capture was the latest sign of the government's current dominance in the island's decades-old civil war. The rebels have been forced to abandon vast areas of land and retreat to territory in the northeast during months of heavy battles.
The Tamil Tigers have controlled Kokavil since they overran a military camp there in 1990, Nanayakkara said.
Separately, army snipers killed three rebels in the northern Jaffna peninsula on Sunday and Monday, a Defense Ministry statement said.
Rebel officials could not be contacted for comment. It is difficult to verify battlefield reports because most journalists are barred from the war zone.
The government has vowed to crush the rebels by the end of the year. It says its forces are closing in on Kilinochchi, while other troops are advancing toward the rebel stronghold of Mullaitivu on the northeastern coast.
Tamil Tiger rebels have fought since 1983 to create an independent homeland for the country's ethnic minority Tamils, who have suffered marginalization at the hands of successive governments controlled by ethnic Sinhalese.
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 July 2009 )|
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