Tigers lay down arms

The Tigers’ armed campaign against the government left more than 70,000 people dead during decades of battles, suicide attacks, bomb strikes and assassinations.

“This battle has reached its bitter end,” Tigers’ representative Selvarasa Pathmanathan said in a statement published on the Tamilnet website.

“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.”

“Our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer,” Pathmanathan said.

“This statement put out on Tamilnet is essentially an admission of what the military has been saying for some time”, says correspondent Amal Jayasinghe, who dismisses the reports of the death of LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran as “rumours”.

However, a military representative reached by RFI said that mop-up operations continued on the ground.

“The last remaining area – it’s about 300 metres by 300 metres,”

Général Udaya Nanayakara told RFI. “There are LTTE fighters still manning fortified bunkers engaging the army troops conducting the mopping-up operations.”

“We heard certain explosions inside the area. We assume that they must be burning ammo dumps, explosives and guns so that even if we capture it we will not be able to use it,” Nanayakara said.

“The end is very near….within a couple of days, we will be able to say that the whole area is liberated,” he said.

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