The quarter-century civil war in Sri Lanka has come to a dramatic
end. The army has apparently wiped out the entire leadership of the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, including the leader who founded the
rebel group. Ror the first time in 26 years, the government says all
territory of the island nation is back under its control.
chiefs of all Sri Lanka's security forces came to the president's
official residence to personally inform him of the LTTE's total defeat.
It is an ending all but unimaginable just a few years ago when
the rebels ran a virtual Tamil state, controlling much of the north and
east under their control.
Sri Lanka's state-controlled
broadcasters switched to patriotic programming and special reports to
announce the victory and report the military had vanquished the entire
leadership of the rebel organization.
"It has been revealed that
the LTTE supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has been killed owing to the
attacks of the advancing troops today, in the morning," the announcer
Rebel leader, top commanders reportedly killed
Media reports say the rebel leader, along with other top
commanders, was killed trying to flee in an ambulance. An official
announcement of Prabhakaran's death is expected Tuesday when President
Mahinda Rajapaksa addresses parliament.
Sri Lanka says its military freed more than 70,000 civilians who had been held "hostage" by the LTTE.
rebels last week claimed thousands of Tamil civilians were dying
because of military shelling. Sri Lanka accused the rebels of
deliberately killing civilians and trying to switch blame for the
deaths to the military.
EU Calls for investigations of alleged rights abuses
The European Union has called for an independent investigation to determine if human rights laws were violated.
to journalists at a ceremony at the presidential residence, Foreign
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama predicted the international community
would come around to seeing the situation as the Sri Lankan government
"This is defeating terrorism so that our people in Sri
Lanka can be free of the scourge of terrorism and look towards their
own development, the empowerment of the people economically and
politically by our government," he said.
International community wants access to northern coast
community is also putting pressure on Sri Lanka to allow access to the
strip of northeastern coast where heavy fighting took place for days.
spokesman Gordon Weiss tells VOA News that is essential for treating
any remaining wounded or ill civilians who may have been left behind.
need access to the area," Weiss said. "I imagine that the authorities
are busy transporting wounded civilians to hospitals and so forth. But
nevertheless the U.N. has consistently asked that the U.N. and other
humanitarian agencies have access to those areas. So far we have been
restricted to the reception camps, the internment camps."
Lanka's government says it can handle adequately what the international
community terms a humanitarian crisis in which an estimated 300,000
Tamils have been displaced.