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Tigers put up stiff resistance

[Express Buzz, Sunday, 25 January 2009 09:40 No Comment]

The capture of the Tamil Tigers’ last bastion in north east Sri Lanka, the town of Mullaitivu, is proving difficult for the Sri Lankan army because of heavy resistance by the Tigers, defence analysts say.

 

The army is facing heavy resistance, especially south of Mullaitivu. There are also ditch-cum-mud wall defences to contend with. The watery terrain is a deterrent for the movement of heavy vehicles and armor.

North of Mullaitivu, the army’s units are still far away from their objective. There is also no great sense of urgency to go for the kill in Mullaitivu.

 

This is for two reasons: First, the LTTE has all its arms, guns and trained cadre here. Second, this is a thickly populated area, including locals as well as refugees from West Wanni. Their numbers are disputed, but they vary between 100,000 and 300,000.

 

The government forces are keen that their operations should not result in large civilian casualties.

 

UNICEF’s CALL: About 3,000 civilians have come out of the war zone to government-held areas since January 1, the government said on Thursday. However, tens of thousands are still trapped in the danger zone with few basic facilities in terms of water, shelter and sanitation, the UNICEF said on Friday.

It appealed to the LTTE to let the civilians go to areas of safety such as the 35 sq km safe zone declared by the government. On Thursday, the UN complained that the LTTE was not letting its local staff to return to the government -controlled areas after distributing food and other essentials in the war-zone earlier this month.

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