‘80 percent of LTTE’s fighting capability eliminated’

November 4th, 2008 - 12:13 am ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Nov 3 (IANS) Sri Lankan Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said “80 percent of the fighting ability” of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been “eliminated” and his advancing troops would soon re-open a main supply route between Colombo and northern Jaffna peninsula.Addressing the troops attached to the elite Gajaba Regiment, one of the most prominent regiments in the Sri Lankan army, Fonseka said Monday that the advancing troops were now just seven kilometers away from the Kilaly lagoon, which links the northern Jaffna peninsula to the Wanni mainland along the western coast.

“On reaching the Jaffna’s Kilaly lagoon, the entire western part of Kilinochchi district would be sans terrorists, enabling the troops to re-open a main supply route to Jaffna shortly,” the army website quoted the army chief as saying in his address to the troops at the regimental headquarters at Saliyapura in the north-central Anuradhapura district.

“As the troops are now closing in on the Kilaly lagoon, depriving the terrorists of their western Pooneryn bastion, the troops have so far managed to eliminate 80 percent of the LTTE fighting ability after suppressing them. Thus the western sector of the A-9 highway would remain completely clear,” the army chief said.

A-9 is the Jaffna-Kandy main supply routine that goes across the rebel-held Kilinochchi area, where heavy fighting has been taking place between the government troops and the Tamil Tiger rebels for the past few months.

The military is determined to capture the rebel’s “administrative capital” of Kilinochchi and the defence experts say it would deal a major blow to the LTTE militarily and psychologically.

According to the army web report, the army chief, said the “capture of Mullaitivu simultaneously mobilising many more battalions under four divisions would form a 50 km-long frontage to the east of the A-9 road, providing full security to the area afterwards”.

Mullaitivu, a dense jungle area which is considered the base for LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, is located 352 km northeast of here.

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