LTTE top brass :
No surrender to third party - Defence Secretary
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa stressed that the Government
cannot let the LTTE to surrender to a third party and emphasised that
LTTE should be made to surrender only to the Government of Sri Lanka.
The Defence Secretary, speaking to the Sunday Observer said this
while commenting on the United States’ request for the LTTE to surrender
to a third party.
Lankan people had suffered from terrorism and it is our people who were
killed by the LTTE. It is not fair for a foreign country to request that
the LTTE be allowed to surrender to an outside party,” Gotabhaya
Rajapaksa said speaking to the `Sunday Observer’. “This is an internal
matter and we, as the Government, can assure that the problem can be
settled internally,” he added.
At a daily press briefing on Friday US State Department spokesman
Robert Wood had stated, “”The Tamil Tigers must stop holding civilians
and thus placing them in harm’s way. We call on the Tamil Tigers to lay
down their arms and surrender to a third party.” Yet, the US State
Department has not specified who the third party is, media reports
Wood had further stated that, the international community needs to
provide assistance to a large number of displaced persons and they
should be prepared to play a role to end the fighting. Commenting
further the Defence Secretary said that US concern about the displaced
civilians could be understood but their concern for the safety of a
group of terrorists is questionable.
Meanwhile, reports from the Sri Lankan office of the United Nations
state that the LTTE is recruiting children as young as 12 years and have
been forced to fight in the frontline as terrorists are getting further
cornered in the `No Fire Zone’, several Colombo based news agencies
stated. A spokesman from the Sri Lankan UN office has stated that the
civilians are sitting there on the sand and groups of armed LTTE come
along and demand a member of the family to join them and ask for one or
two children and that LTTE cadres are running around grabbing people.
Accordingly these children were not seen again by their families.
Assuring the evacuation of each and every person trapped inside the
`No Fire Zone’, the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabhaya
Rajapaksa said that the ongoing military operations will continue until
Prabhakaran is caught and till the Army completely captures the land.
“Almost 98% of the civilians trapped inside the `No Fire Zone’ have
reached the cleared areas and the humanitarian operations of the Sri
Lanka Army will be to liberate these people as their first priority,”
The Defence Secretary further confirmed that irrespective of LTTE
propaganda taking place locally as well as internationally, the mission
to rescue people trapped in the `No Fire Zone’ will continue. Condemning
the allegations on the Government of mass scale civilian casualties
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said, “The Sri Lanka Army planned the operation in a
very professional manner, totally avoiding attacks on civilians. It is
proven that the LTTE attack civilians as well during their defensive
He further stated that during interrogations the escaping civilians
have stated that they were attacked by the LTTE for various reasons.
“With the visuals we received from the UAVs of the Sri Lanka Air Force
it was proved beyond doubt that it is the LTTE who have killed and
injured innocent civilians who were trying to escape,” Gotabhaya