News

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.
Comments
     
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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs