Senior Sea Tiger leader killed in heavy fightingMarch 21st, 2009 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, March 21 (IANS) A senior leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels’ naval wing was killed along with a few others when the troops advancing from various directions towards the fast shrinking rebel strongholds fought pitched battles with the rebels in Sri Lanka’s north, the defence ministry said here Saturday.
It said that the troops of the 55 Division have recovered bodies of four Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres including the body of Sindu, a senior leader of the Sea Tigers after fierce clashes south of Patikkarai in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district Friday.
Citing intercepted LTTE communication, the defence ministry said that the LTTE have fled the area “in total disarray”, leaving behind the dead bodies of the rebels killed in the fighting.
“Soosai (leader of the Sea Tigers) has got outraged with the loss and heavily criticised the LTTE ground leadership at Palamathalan for failing to recover Sindu’s body,” it said.
“Security forces are making steady progress with every conscious effort to ensure safety of civilians held hostage by LTTE and of those who are fleeing from the government-declared No-Fire-Zone,” it said.
In a separate report, the defence ministry quoting the civilians fleeing the rebel-held areas said that elusive rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his elder son Charles Antony clad in civilian cloths had been sighted several times in the No-Fire-Zone in the Puthukkudiyiruppu areas.
According to the report, the Tamil civilians have said that both of them surrounded by heavily armed special bodyguards “from time to time have come out from the bunkers and explained to the non-cadres of the LTTE the importance of rising up against the government forces who are not very far away from the area of the No-Fire-Zone”.
The military said that the LTTE has now been boxed into a mere 28 square km land area in Mullaitivu district, facing a fierce military onslaught.
It said that the number of civilians fleeing the rebel-held areas defying LTTE orders was on the rise and over 47,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) have already entered the government-held areas since the beginning of 2009.
These IDPs are temporarily housed in welfare centres and villages in the northern Vavuniya district.
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