Cornered LTTE’s defences crumbling faster: Lankan army chief

January 18th, 2009 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 18 (IANS) Sri Lankan troops marching towards the Tamil Tigers’ last bastions in the north have cornered the rebels in the jungle district of Mullaitivu and their defences were crumbling faster despite heavy resistance, the army chief has said.Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka told reporters late Saturday that the advancing troops were making “rapid progress and have captured 17 km during the past 17 days towards Mullaitivu” where the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were maintaining their strong buildups.

He said the LTTE, which was virtually controlling Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts for the past one decade, was “now boxed into a small jungle area in the Mullaitivu district”, offering desperate resistance to the advancing troops.

Gen. Fonseka said the troops have recovered over 100 dead bodies of the rebels killed during the past couple of weeks.

“Soon you will see the final outcome of the war against the LTTE,” the army commander said.

Since early January, the troops have captured major LTTE strongholds including Kilinochchi, Paranthan, Elephant Pass and Muhamalai along the A-9 main highway and have taken full control of the highway after 23 years.

The government is making preparations to open the 325 km-long road for public after reconstruction.

Meanwhile, the defence ministry said Sunday that the army’s 59 Division troops have “entered into the south of Puthukkudiyiruppu jungle areas” in the Mullaitivu district, inflicting heavy damages to the rebels.

“Troops have captured a highly fortified LTTE camp and a boat manufacturing factory from the Maruthampuvel area during yesterday’s (Saturday) operations,” it said, adding that the troops have found two fast attack boats, two water jets and seven small boats used for suicide missions inside the facility.

“Troops are now consolidating their positions about six kilometers south of Puthukkudiyiruppu,” the defence ministry said.

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