Top LTTE leader’s family found among fleeing civilians

May 15th, 2009 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, May 15 (IANS) Sri Lankan Navy Friday identified a top Tamil Tiger leader’s family members trying to flee the war zone along with a group of civilians, the defence ministry said.
The members were identified as LTTE’s Sea Tiger wing leader Soosai’s wife, son, daughter, sister-in-law and her son, who were among a group of 11 people on board a boat rescued by the navy, the ministry said on its website.

A large sum of money has also been found in possession of the Soosai’s kin.

The ministry also said that government troops have liberated over 1,500 civilians held hostage by the Tamil Tigers in Kariyalamullai tsunami village in the region.

About 20,000 civilians were still believed trapped in the area, a shrinking strip of land in northeastern Sri Lanka.

Between Thursday and Friday noon, an estimated 6,000 civilians fled the rebel-controlled area by crossing the shallow lagoon, and more civilians were coming out Friday, military officials said.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday night announced that all civilians caught in the fighting in the war zone will be rescued in the next 48 hours.

Since Sunday, more than 450 civilians were reported to have been killed in the area with both the government and the LTTE blaming one another for the attacks on the civilians.

Military officials said they are on the final leg of their offensive launched in August 2006 to crush the LTTE, which has been fighting for an independent homeland for the minority Tamils for more than 25 years.

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