Hours after Lankan President declared a triumph over the Tamil Tigers rebels, the army said that at least 70 tigers were killed in the latest ambush. In the meanwhile, there are reports of tigers giving up fight.
According to Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, the group was killed on Sunday morning as they tried to leave the pocket of land in the northeast of the country.
“Troops observed the six boats in the lagoon and destroyed them,” he said. “We recovered 70 bodies and an identification process is under way.”
However, he said that the Tamil Tigers still controlled a “small patch of jungle”.
Thousands of civilians have also been flooding out of the area during the past 72 hours, and on Sunday the government declared that all non-combatants had been able to escape.
In the mean time, a statement carried by the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said that the Tigers had given up their fight and “have decided to silence our guns”.
The statement was issued as the Sri Lankan government was moving in for a final push today in its 26-year civil war with Tamil rebels after announcing that all civilians had been evacuated from the rebels’ tiny enclave on the north-east coast of the island.
It should be noted that on Saturday, Mahinda Rajapakse, the Sri Lankan president, had declared that the Tigers had been “defeated,” after the military said it had captured an area of coastline held by them.
“I am proud to announce … that my government, with the total commitment of our armed forces, has, in an unprecedented humanitarian operation, finally defeated the LTTE,” he told a summit in Jordan.
He returned to the capital, Colombo, on Sunday to street celebrations.