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Troops to take control of LTTE’s urban base stronghold: Army
Colombo, Feb 28 (Agencies):
Published on 1 Mar. 2009 12:08 AM IST
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Sri Lankan forces moved to take control of the last urban area held by the retreating LTTE as troops captured an advanced satellite communication centre in the embattled north where heavy fighting killed at least 27 guerrillas, the defence ministry said on Saturday. The Army has won a string of major victories over the LTTE rebels in recent weeks, as the military said they were ready to inflict a “decisive blow” to the guerrillas. “The multi-pronged military surge towards Puthukkudiyirippu town continued with increasing LTTE battlefield loses as troops are now reportedly positioned to take control of the Puthukkudiyirppu junction,” the Defence ministry quoted ground sources as saying. Sri Lankan troops of the 58 Division, which entered Puthukudiirippu town perimeter, found LTTE’s high-tech satellite communication centre yesterday. They came cross the huge gadget while advancing into the built-up area amidst stiff resistance from LTTE yesterday, the Defence Ministry quoted military sources as saying. As troops encircled Puthukudiirippu, the LTTE’s last remaining stronghold, the LTTE fighters withdrew from the area leaving behind high-tech satellite relaying machines used for international communication, it said. Lankan soldiers recovered a large quantity of explosives, weapons and ammunition from bases abandoned by the guerrillas as they pushed into Puthukkudiriruppu town, the ministry said. The UN has voiced concern for the thousands of civilians pushed into a shrinking pocket of land in the north Sri Lanka. The world body estimates that some 200,000 people are being squeezed into a narrow 14-square kilometre patch of land on the coast in Wanni which the Sri Lankan government has declared a “no-fire zone.” Meanwhile, LTTE suffered heavy damages in fierce fighting reported in north of Kombavil area in Pudukudirippu, military sources said, adding five bodies of Tamil Tigers were recovered. The troops have reportedly gained control over sections of the LTTE built anti-armour barriers and a series of bunkers while seizing two LTTE attack boats, military sources from the Mullaittivu battlefront reported. The crafts had sustained damages due to artillery attacks, the sources said, adding that LTTE’s sea wing chief Soosai commanded the rebels resistances. According to intercepted LTTE communication, 13 rebels were killed during the confrontations. “Soosai had operated from an undisclosed location in Puthukkudiyirippu, pulled up the LTTE ground leaders for failing to stall the military advance,” the defence ministry claimed. “If they (Army) inch further we are done for ever,” the ministry quoted him as saying in intercepted LTTE communication. The Lankan Army captured another LTTE’s anti-armour earth bund (some 1.5 km long) in Pudumatalan area in Mullaittivu this morning, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said. “About ten LTTE boats had also been destroyed when the Tamil Tiger rebels unsuccessfully attempted to defend the earth bund with reinforcements arriving by boats,” it said. Meanwhile, LTTE cadres suffered heavy damages during a confrontation yesterday at Pudukudirippu in Mullaittivu yesterday, the MCNS said, adding nine bodies of rebels were recovered from the area. Fighting, which has escalated in the past two years, further flared after the government in January 2008 pulled out of the 2002 cease-fire pact with the rebels. The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for an independent state for the minority ethnic Tamils, alleging marginalisation of the community for decades by governments dominated by the Sinhalese. Over 70,000 people have been killed in the civil war in the Island nation.

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