|‘Kilinochchi will fall this year’|
|Thursday, 14 August 2008|
COLOMBO: Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Tuesday expressed confidence that the security forces were on target to capture the Tiger stronghold of Kilinochchi within the next four months.
The Defence Secretary told The British Times Online publication the mission could be fulfilled by the end of this year. “You can't just push the Tigers into the jungles and wait. You have to search for them and completely eradicate them. Only then will peace come,” he said.
His comments came amid warning by neighbouring India that Sri Lanka may not win the war unless the Tamils are given substantial political rights.
Speaking to a Singapore daily, the Indian National Security Adviser, M K Narayanan, said the Sri Lankan government should get the Tamil population on their side to succeed.
"The (Sri Lanka Army) has made a lot of progress in the last few weeks. But even if they win the battle I am not sure they will win the war. I think they haven't got the Tamil population on their side," he was quoted by The Straits Times.
"I think they haven't got the Tamil population on their side. I know the Sri Lankan government will be unhappy (at this advice) but... that is the best advice they could get," he said.
India directly intervened in the Sri Lankan conflict in 1987 by sending troops to supervise a bilateral peace pact, but ended up fighting Tamil Tigers.
New Delhi withdrew its troops after a 32-month deployment during which it lost some 1,200 soldiers and many more were wounded. Since then, New Delhi has maintained a hands-off policy towards Sri Lanka, but kept close watch.
Narayanan’s warning was echoed by Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, who said though on the face of it, the government has made great strides and the Tigers are really hemmed in this time, he was not sure the military progress could be translated into political progress.
Meanwhile, the army, which last month, captured one of the Tigers’ main naval bases and entered the Kilinochchi district last week said it had shrunk the Tigers’ territory from 6,500 to 5,000sqkm and reduced their forces from 13,000 to 5,000 ‘cadres’. The army also said it had captured the Kalekuda jetty situated about 2 km north of the Mannar-Kilinochchi district boundary during operations on Monday. According to the military, following a massive attack launched at the location the LTTE had abandoned the jetty along with some belongings including several Sea Tiger boats.
“This place, used by the LTTE to facilitate its sea movements and engage in smuggling, gives an adequate view of the LTTE Nachchikudah Sea Tiger base, located about 2 km northwards,” the army said.
Meanwhile the Defence Ministry said troops engaged in the Wanni operations pushed further northwards along the Mannar-Pooneryn (A-32) main road after opening a new front on the South-western border of the Kilinochchi district.During the operations on Monday troops deployed in the Adampankulama area observed a cluster of LTTE boats and engaged them with artillery and mortar fire destroying one boat and killing at least a few LTTE cadres. A soldier was also killed in the confrontation.
Troops of the 57 division operating on an adjacent front on the Western border of the Mullaittivu district carried out their operations aimed at dominating the strategically vital Tunukkai and Mallavi areas, the Defence Ministry said.
(Courtesy : South Asia Media Net )
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
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