Fonseka vows to capture Sampur

[TamilNet, Thursday, 31 August 2006, 09:25 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka vowed Thursday to take control of Tamil Tiger controlled Sampur in Trincomalee “within days” as a Sri Lankan military offensive against the enclave continued for the fourth day. “We have gone through half way and we will capture the whole area within a few more days,” Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka told The Associated Press. Meanwhile aid workers alleged that Muslim families trying to escape the heavy fighting are being prevented from leaving by Sri Lankan security forces.

SLA troops have captured Kaddaiparichchan village and are now only two kilometers outside Sampur, Lt. Gen. Fonseka said.

“We will be able to neutralize all their artillery and mortar bases in Trincomalee south and the Sampur area within a very short time, in the very near future," he told AP.

He wouldn't say how many bases the Tigers are estimated to have in the area, or how many have been destroyed since the operation to reclaim the area south of the naval base began Sunday.

“We are doing it now and we are being successful,” he said.

Meanwhile aid workers said Sri Lankan security forces were preventing Muslims trying to avoid the military offensive from leaving.

84 families arrived at the Muslim Information Center in Kantale, Trincomalee district, forced from their homes in the mostly Muslim town of Thoppur by the fierce fighting, Mohamed Farzadh, a project officer at the center, told AP Thursday.

“We are hearing that many more want to leave," Farzadh said. "But many are not being allowed to come and are being held back by police, who are telling them it is safe to stay,” he said.


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