The Tamil Tigers yesterday vowed to drive back an advance by government troops in the east of Sri Lanka and accused the Sri Lankan military of ‘genocidal activities’ there.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) denied Sri Lankan military claims they were retreating in the face of an onslaught in the Eastern Province.
The LTTE said they would retaliate ‘very soon’.
LTTE political wing leader S P Thamilselvan said: ‘As far as the LTTE is concerned we have adjusted our tactics according to needs and we have not withdrawn from the east.
‘I believe our actions in the coming period will answer the propaganda (of the government) whether the Sri Lankan military has won a stable victory.’
Thamilselvan, who is also the Tigers’ top peace negotiator, said the military was ‘behaving like an occupational force that has let loose its genocidal activities against the Tamil people’.
He added that the Tigers had turned the tables on government forces in the past and inflicted heavy losses, saying: ‘I believe similar instances will be repeated in the east very soon.’
Sri Lankan defence ministry spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe had said on Thursday that ‘Only about 140 square kilometres of jungle land in the Thoppigala area (near Batticaloa) still remain under LTTE control and we believe around 300 to 350 rebels are in the jungles.’
The Sri Lankan military claims its operations against the Tigers in the east are a ‘defensive humanitarian operation’.
The Colombo government has refused to allow journalists into areas held by the Tigers, although it says there is no formal censorship.
‘The Sri Lankan military is spin doctoring their own creation of this human misery as military victories,’ Thamilselvan said.
More than 4,000 people died between December 2005 and the first week of March 2007, including 675 civilians and 1,040 security personnel, according to defence ministry figures.