The Hindu, Sunday the 18th January, 2009
B. Muralidhar Reddy
COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday briefed Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon on the current developments in Sri Lanka, including the military victories being achieved by the security forces against the LTTE.
The Presidential Secretariat said: "The visiting Foreign Secretary reaffirmed India's cooperation with Sri Lanka in the attempts to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka and the region, and observed that at present the relations between India and Sri Lanka have never been so close, so warm and so deep."
Separately, the military said its troops captured Ramanadanpuram in Kilinochchi district. "The soldiers of 571 and 572 brigades after several days of fighting entered the Ramanadanpuram built up last night [Friday] and completed mop up operations a short while ago," the Defence Ministry said.
As per the Ministry, Ramanadanpuram is the second largest built up in Kilinochchi district after Kilinochchi town.
"With this victory, the Sri Lanka army has been able to further reduce the terrorist hold in populated areas in Wanni and push the terrorists into the Muthiyankattu jungle," the Ministry said and further claimed that soldiers of Army Task Force 2 advancing north from the A-34 road (Mankaulam-Mullathivu) are now piercing the thick Muthiyankadu jungle, the last remaining bastion of the LTTE.
"Soldiers have been fighting fierce battles with the terrorists struggling to defend their last hideout. Troops since this morning [Saturday] have found 19 bodies of slain LTTE cadres along with 6 T-56 riffles, 2 light machine guns (LMG), 1 RPG launcher, 8 claymore mines and 4 grenades form the north of Muthiyankadu tank area," it said.
In a statement posted on its web site, the LTTE alleged that members of a number of families of the displaced in the Mullathivu were either killed or injured in indiscriminate shelling by the military.