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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 107

Despite Thoppigala capture, Eastern region may still not be under full military control

Colombo, 11 July, ( Despite the capture of Eastern LTTE headquarters and the Thoppigala jungles, Sri Lanka Military does not want to directly say that the East is now under their full control. Asked by the press whether this capture now leads to full control of East by Lanka military, Defence Spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe refused to give a definite answer. "The military has captured all the main LTTE camps in East. Overall military control of East is in the hands of Military. However, there are still pockets of LTTE rebels in the East" he replied.

Military also said "loads of anti-personnel mines were also captured. Several bulldozers, Cantor lorries, many mo-bikes and fleets of LTTE vehicles have been found" the military said.

The Baron's Cap in the Eastern Sri Lanka, known as the Thoppigala mountain region, the long held Eastern bastion of the LTTE rebels, fell to the hands of Sri Lanka armed forces at dawn today. At this moment, the security forces are still clearing the Thoppigala jungle area. But there are rebel pockets still in west of Thoppigala.

The Thoppigala mountain is in the jungle area in Batticaloa and is located 220km east of Colombo. It was the long held Eastern bastion of the LTTE rebels –the headquarters of Eastern LTTE command. In this region, Narakamula, and Tharavikulama areas are where the LTTE leadership had its Eastern headquarters and other fortifications.

The military struggle to capture Thoppigala stronghold spans no less than 14 years.

On June 9, in the aftermath of the seizure of a massive rocky plateau called "Tora Bora" while Sri Lankan Air Force fighter jets bombed rebel positions in Thoppigala, the SLA announced that "Thoppigala will fall to hands of SL Army within days."

The capture of Thoppigala, the LTTE's eastern bastion, became possible since the capture of "Tora Bora" rocky patch "cuts off rebel's supply routes", defence sources earlier said.

The Thoppigala battle has been ongoing from February 25, in the West and South of Batticaloa, the eastern capital of Sri Lanka. To-date, more than 200 LTTE rebels died and scores of them injured, the army said.

After the capture of "Tora Bora" rocky patch, soldiers also found 15 anti-personnel mines buried near Thoppigala, an officer at the Defense Ministry's media center.

The mines were later defused, the officer said on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

- Asian Tribune -

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