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.
The 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 said.
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.
The 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.
Speaking 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 does.
"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
The international community is also putting pressure on Sri Lanka to allow access to the strip of northeastern coast where heavy fighting took place for days.
U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss tells VOA News that is essential for treating any remaining wounded or ill civilians who may have been left behind.
"We 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."
Sri 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.