Sri Lankan President Declares Military Defeat of Rebels

Although sporadic fighting was reported to be continuing (early Sunday) on the very last patch of land held by the Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lanka's President has already proclaimed the group's military defeat. The fate of the leadership of the rebels, who have waged a quarter century civil war for an independent ethnic homeland, remains unknown.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, speaking to a developing nations summit in Jordan,Saturday, said he would be returning home to a country freed from the barbaric acts of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. "My government, with the total commitment of our armed forces, has, in an unprecedented humanitarian operation, finally defeated the LTTE militarily," he said.

He is expected to make a formal declaration of victory after arriving back on his home soil.

Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara tells VOA News two Army divisions moving from opposite directions merged (Saturday), trapping the Tamil Tigers on a narrow and short patch of coastline. "With the troops moving and linking up we have completely confined the LTTE Sea Tigers onto ground. So that's a significant victory. With that we have confined LTTE to less than a two-square-kilometer area and surrounded them on ground from all directions," he said.

Defense officials say two of the top LTTE commanders died in the end-stage confrontations with troops but there has been no word on the fate of the group's founder and leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The official Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation reports an explosion of a bunker in which top rebels had taken refuge. But there is no confirmation on whether the LTTE leader was inside or the cause of the blast.

The military says 25,000 Tamils have fled the latest fighting and are now in government care.

As fighting escalated in recent days, Red Cross access to the combat zone was cut off.

The United Nations expressed grave concern for the tens of thousands of additional civilians it says remain trapped there.

A pro-rebel news service quotes a volunteer doctor in the combat zone saying 100 more civilians died Saturday, up to 3,000 bodies were strewn across the area and more people, huddled in bunkers due to shelling were dying without food.

With access not permitted to the fighting the accounts of either side cannot be independently verified.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is warning Sri Lanka it will face consequences for not halting the fighting and refusing to allow humanitarian access to the combat zone.

The Tamil Tigers have fought a civil war for a quarter century in hopes of establishing an independent ethnic homeland on the Sinhalese-dominated island.

Most of Sri Lanka's Tamils are Hindus with a significant number of Christians. The Sinhalese are primarily Buddhists.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanoni
John Owens
October 08, 2015 7:32 PM
Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs