LTTE on the verge of collapse

LTTE on the verge of collapse

Rajapaksa vows to stamp out rebels in 48 hours; Sea Tiger chiefs family captured

With the Lankan offensive appeared reaching its conclusion, more than 10,000 trapped Tamil civilians fled the last remaining area held by the LTTE as President Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed to stamp out the rebels within the next 48 hours.
In another big blow to the LTTE, which has been plagued with desertions by senior leaders, family members of LTTE’s naval wing chief Col Soosai, including his wife, were captured by the Sri Lankan Navy as they tried to flee the island in a boat.
Soosai, the chief of Sea Tigers, is a close confidant of Velupillai Prabhakaran and said to be the senior-most leader in the military wing after the LTTE supremo.
Two top LTTE leaders — Daya Master and George — gave themselves up before the Sri Lankan Army last month, while a top military aide of Prabhakaran is believed to have been killed in the intense fighting.

Rebels ‘giving up’

Military spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said the “rebels are slowly giving up. They are blowing whatever arms and ammunition they have.”
The navy said Soosai’s wife, son and daughter and his brother’s wife and daughter were captured by the Navy while they tried to flee the island from the Mullaittivu coast.
“Huge sums of money were recovered from them. The money is being counted still,” it said.

Wanted by Interpol

Soosai, whose real name is Thillaiyampalam Sivanesan, is wanted by Interpol for his involvement in various terrorist attacks across Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Air Force had in February destroyed Soosai’s hideout near Pudukudiyyirippu and he is believed to have been seriously injured in the attack.
Meanwhile, a Government spokesman said: “President Mahinda Rajapaksa has vowed that within the next 48 hours, thousands of Tamil civilians will be freed from the clutches of the Tamil Tigers.”

Rajapaksa confident

He said the president has also assured “all territory would be freed from the Tamil Tigers’ control.”
Rajapaksa’s comments came as on the battle-front Sri Lankan forces pushed back the Tigers confining them to 1.5 sq km area by Thursday night.
Sri Lankan army has massed 20,000-25,000 troops for the final onslaught and these forces have encircled an estimated 1,200-1,500 remnants of the Tamil Tigers.
Over 5,500 Tamil civilians have moved out of the fast shrinking LTTE-control areas as a military spokesman said that forces were bracing thousands more. According to UN estimates, 50,000 civilians still remain trapped in the no-fire zone and any sharp dwindling in their strength could give Lankan forces more room to crush the Tigers, who have lost much of their fire power.

UN sends Nambiar

The reports that a final push was on came even as international pressure mounted on Colombo to call for a truce. UN chief Ban Ki-Moon warned that a human catastrophe could be on inside the rebel-held zone and rushed his Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar to Colombo to stop the fighting.

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