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Tiger spin docs create casualty figures to mislead UN — Gota

The LTTE now on the verge of collapse on the Mullaitivu front has accused the army of killing over 2,000 civilians in an artillery barrage over the weekend.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa denied the accusation. In a brief interview with The Island, he pointed out that the LTTE had timed the latest propaganda lie for an informal session of the UN Security Council scheduled for today (May 11). He said that the LTTE was making a desperate attempt to force the international community to stop the offensive.

He said that nothing could be as ridiculous as a claim of over 2,000 civilians being killed in a single barrage. The army couldn’t have mounted a large scale artillery assault without the international community knowing it, he said. Had they employed satellites to monitor the area of operations, they would have known the ground situation, he said.

The LTTE and its supporters were trying to influence international opinion by propagating lies, he said, emphasising that the government had irrefutable evidence of an attempt to force international intervention.

He said that the army refrained from using heavy weapons even at the risk of taking casualties. Despite all the constraints, the army had now fought its way up to the newly set up civilian safe zone, south of Karayamullivaikkal with an area of two km in length and 1.5 km in width. "We are in the final stage of our offensive and there is absolutely no way the Tigers can get out of this trap," he said.

Quoting Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka, the Defence Secretary said that on Saturday (9) the LTTE had opened fire on about 1,000 civilians attempting to reach the army deployed south of the no fire zone. The army had located the LTTE firing positions as well as the area targeted by the terrorists, he said, emphasising that both were located within the area under its control.

Despite heavy LTTE fire about 300 men, women and children had reached the army lines, he said. Unfortunately about 700 people had been forced to turn back, he said, urging the international community to employ whatever possible means to know what is going on there.

Army Commander Lt. Gen. Fonseka visited Vavuniya on Saturday to review the progress.

The Defence Secretary said that the army was continuing with operations and there could be a major breakthrough within the next 48 hours. According to him, the ground forces had made significant gains over the past three days and the LTTE would soon lose its wherewithal to offer organised resistance.

He said that notorious LTTE arms procurement agent KP was spearheading a campaign backed by some of its international supporters to throw a lifeline to the LTTE leadership trapped on the Mullaitivu coast.

‘Breakthru’ within 48 hrs

The Defence Secretary said that the army was continuing with operations and there could be a major breakthrough within the next 48 hours. According to him, the ground forces had made significant gains over the past three days and the LTTE would soon lose its wherewithal to offer organised resistance.

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