Since the Sri Lankan army’s final assault on the last outpost of the LTTE’s resistance, NDTV is the first TV channel to reach just six kilometers from Prabhakaran’s hideout. It is the same area through which thousands of Tamil refugees escaped from the battle zone.
Four days after over one lakh Tamil civilians were liberated from the LTTE’s control by the Sri Lankan army, troops are making slow progress in their advance into the remaining tiny patch of land still controlled by the Tamil tigers.
Commanders say it is a deliberate decision.
“We have slowed down because our main task is to protect and rescue civilians,” said Brigadier Shivandra Silva, GOC, 58 Division, Sri Lankan Army.
The LTTE may be boxed in but it is not giving up yet, and there still no sign of the Tiger chief Prabhakaran. The army feels that he is still holed up in the area although there’s speculation that he may attempt to escape by sea.
This is as far as we can get to the frontline in Sri Lanka’s long running war that is in its last leg. It was at this point that the army broke through the LTTE’s last defence line and rescued over 100,000 civilians last Monday.
As the war rages on, hapless Tamil civilians continue to pour into government held areas.
The misery is compounded by lack of adequate infrastructure, a shortcoming that the government is battling to overcome with help from the international community.
Even if the war ends soon, it will take months for these innocent victims to get a decent life.