Feb 2, 2009

World - Colombo: we will destroy LTTE shortly

B. Muralidhar Reddy

‘Safe zone’ not being bombed

COLOMBO: Amid claims by the military of further advances into the last two remaining settlements of the LTTE, Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Sunday asserted that the forces would shortly “destroy” the Tigers.

A report posted on the Defence Ministry website quoted him as saying that the LTTE’s refusal to pay heed to the 48-hour ultimatum issued by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the outfit to release civilians should be an eye-opener to the NGOs and the international community.

Plea to nations

With little known about the fate of 1.2 lakh civilians in the battle zone, as per the government assessment, the Defence Secretary urged the international community to pressure the LTTE to provide safe passage for people trapped there.

Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa reiterated that there would be no ceasefire with the LTTE and the military would destroy the LTTE shortly. “We will continue with the military offensive until we liberate the remaining area under LTTE control,” he was quoted as saying.

“Civilians won’t die”

He expressed confidence that as the military encircled the Tigers in their last two remaining settlements in Mullaithivu, the civilians caught in the crossfire would have the confidence to move into the safe zones.

“We have designated a safe area for them. Wait and see what will happen in another five days. As troops move closer, civilians won’t wait there to die. They know exactly what is happening,” he was quoted as saying.

Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa insisted that troops were not bombing the safe zone.

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