Sri Lanka Says Civilians Free

  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/date/date/date.theme on line 255.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/date/date/date.theme on line 260.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/date/date/date.theme on line 261.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/date/date/date.theme on line 255.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/date/date/date.theme on line 260.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/date/date/date.theme on line 261.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_page::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_page.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_node_status::operator_form() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::operator_form(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_filter_node_status.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
By Jay Shankar
Sunday, May 17th, 2009
Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa worships the ground as he lands in Colombo

Sri Lanka’s military said all civilians held by the Tamil Tigers were freed and the fate of the group’s founder Velupillai Prabhakaran is unknown, after President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the defeat of the rebels.

“There is still no news about the LTTE leadership,” military spokesman brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said in a phone interview from the capital, Colombo. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leaders are believed to be hiding in a 1.5 square kilometers (0.6 square miles) region in northeastern Mullaitivu district, he said.

Rajapaksa said yesterday Sri Lanka’s army had defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels “after 30 long years,” after he’d rejected calls led by the United Nations Security Council for an end to the fighting. The LTTE had fought for a separate Tamil homeland in the South Asian island-nation since the group was founded by Prabhakaran in the 1970s.

“Militarily, the LTTE has been defeated,” B. Raman, the former counter-terrorism director of India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing, said in a telephone interview from the southern city of Chennai. “It has already lost its military capability and it has also lost its capability as an insurgent organization.”

‘Silence Our Guns’

All civilians have been rescued by the soldiers and 50,000 people came into government-controlled region during the last 72 hours, Nanayakkara said. The rebels had said civilians were staying of their own will and that 1,700 of them were killed by army artillery in a two-day period this week.

“Military operations are still on,” Nanayakkara said.

The rebels will “silence” their guns to save civilians, mostly Tamils, trapped in the war zone, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the head of the group’s international diplomatic relations, said in a statement, according to TamilNet, a Web site that gives reports from the Tamil perspective.

This battle has reached its “bitter end,” Pathmanathan said. “We remain with one last choice -- to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have decided to silence our guns.”

Rebels who were trying to escape across a lagoon on boats were targeted by the soldiers and at least 70 Tamil Tigers were killed in the fighting, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on its Web site.

‘Lose Relevance’

When the Tamil Tigers lose their last territory “they will lose their political relevance also,” Raman said. The army doesn’t have to capture all the leaders for the war to end.

“If you destroy the capability for terrorism insurgency and if you kill two or three top leaders or put them out of action, the movement will automatically die away,” Raman said. The Sri Lankan government is seeking to capture three top LTTE leaders: Prabhakaran, Soosai, the Sea Tiger chief and Pottu Amman, chief of intelligence, he said.

The liberation of regions controlled by the LTTE, “which amounted to a fourth of Sri Lanka’s mass,” paves the way for democracy and development after decades of conflict, Rajapaksa said yesterday in Jordan, according to an e-mailed statement. Sri Lankan army has “finally defeated the LTTE militarily.”

The defeat of the Tamil Tigers “heralds a new era” with an opportunity for peace and development nationwide, Rajapaksa said. “Efforts are under way to complement the humanitarian mission with a political solution.”

Blessings

Rajapaksa arrived in Colombo today and religious dignitaries from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Islamic faiths blessed him, according to the government.

Fighting had prevented aid from reaching the coast for a third consecutive day, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on May 14. A ferry carrying 25 metric tons of food was unable to land, the ICRC said, adding that the last deliver was made on May 9. It said a “humanitarian catastrophe” was unfolding in the northeast.

The UN estimates more than 160,000 people have escaped from the conflict zone since soldiers cleared a safe passage last month. About 250,000 people remain in need of aid in Sri Lanka’s north, the UN says.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jay Shankar in Bangalore at jshankar1@bloomberg.net

See Original
© 2009 Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved.