Only 1,000 Tigers left, war almost over – Fonseka

[TamilNet, Monday, 19 January 2009, 13:30 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said Sunday that as there were only a thousand Tamil Tigers left and they were “boxed” into a small jungle area in Mullaitivu, the war would soon be won. The Tigers could not resist the 50,000 SLA soldiers surrounding them, he said. Lt. Gen. Fonseka, who spoke at an annual dinner he hosts for defence correspondents at his residence, joked that he expected most of them "to be out of work by this time next year." He wore a black shirt, adorned with a dragon strangling a tiger, Reuters reported.

"It would be extremely tough for the 1000-odd LTTE cadres to take on Sri Lankan army of 50,000 personnel, deployed in areas around Mullaittivu," Fonseka said.

At least 200,000 people who fled towards Mullaiththeevu from Sri Lankan Army advances in recent months, along with almost a similar number of residents are enduring relentless and indiscriminate shelling from the SLA’s heavy guns and rocket artillery and the Air Force’s bombing .

Fonseka said the LTTE now only hold an area of 30 km (18 miles) by 15 km (9 miles). The LTTE controls 40km of coastline, the military says.

"When the war started, I used 50 map sheets to plan it. Now I only need one sheet to plan it," he boasted.

Lt. Gen. Fonseka suggested LTTE leader Vellupillai Pirapaharan may even have fled the island, unable to face the advancing Sri Lankan army.

 

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