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LTTE on verge of defeat: SL
Colombo, Oct 20 (Agencies):
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Published on 20 Oct. 2008 11:49 PM IST
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Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse on Monday claimed to have breached the last defence of the LTTE and clarified his government’s stand on the ongoing military action against the Tiger rebels. He also said that the Army has captured 14 rebel bunkers in Kilinochchi. Refuting charges of ethnic genocide as claimed by many Southern politicians in India, the secretary said that the fight is against terrorism and not against any community. He also accused the rebels of using poisonous gas against the military in the ongoing battle. Gotabhaya also contended allegations of civilian apathy due to military onslaught and said that efforts are on to avoid civilian casualties. He added that even the UN has confirmed that the Lankan airstrikes were precise and directed against the Tigers. According to some reports nearly two lakh civilians have been caught in the ongoing war. On the issue of displaced civilians the secretary said that all the displaced will be settled within a year. On the international pressure, particularly from India, to halt the military offensive, the he said that Sri Lanka has cordial relations with India but added that LTTE sympathisers based in Tamil Nadu and are pressurising the politicians there. In an apparent displeasure over the ‘concerns’ shown by some Indian politicians, the secretary said that the Sri Lankan people are “our citizens and their responsibility is ours”. Hitting out at Tamil Nadu politicians, he said: “Dravidian parties don’t realise that LTTE is a terrorist group.” In view of the mounting pressure from the Tamil politician, the government is likely to send External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to the Island Nation to discuss the issue with the lankan government. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan troops on Sunday seized a strategic village from separatist Tamil Tiger rebels following a two-month battle, moving the government a step closer to capturing the militants' de facto capital in northern Sri Lanka, the military said. Troops seized a strategic village from separatist Tamil Tiger rebels following a two-month battle, moving the government a step closer to capturing the militants' de facto capital in northern Sri Lanka, the military said Monday. The battle for Vannerikulam village, west of rebel capital Kilinochchi, was challenging because the rebels had erected massive earth barriers, the military said in a statement. It said the capture of the village on Sunday could ease the military's march toward Kilinochchi, which has housed the rebel headquarters for the past 10 years.

 
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