President Rajapaksa returns to Colombo, two top LTTE leaders killed
Colombo, May 17 (ANI): A visibly jubilant President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to Sri Lanka from Jordan on Sunday where he announced his military's victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
After arriving in Colombo having cut short his visit, Rajapaksa saluted his country.
Welcomed by hundreds of supporters at the international airport here, Rajapaksa on arrival said that the country had been "liberated" from LTTE's terrorism.
"Before stepping on Sri Lankan soil, Mr. Rajapaksa, who had gone to attend the G-11 summit in Jordan, paid tribute to his motherland by placing his forehead on the ground and worshiping the land he has liberated from terrorism," said the Defence Ministry.
On his arrival he was welcomed by his cabinet and was blessed by Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu and Muslim priests.
On Saturday, addressing the summit of G-11 nations in Jordan, Rajapaksa declared that the LTTE had been defeated militarily and that it would be finished by the time he gets back to the country.
Rajapaksa stated his government was firmly committed to seeking a "homegrown solution" acceptable to all communities living in Sri Lanka and cautioned that even after its defeat in Sri lanka the LTTE could continue to sustain itself overseas.
Meanwhile, two top Tiger leaders were among 70 killed in last leg of fighting amid unconfirmed reports of about 300 rebels committing suicide on Saturday.
Senior LTTE leaders Swarnam and Shashi Master were reportedly killed in fierce fighting during the last leg of confrontation between troops and the LTTE on Saturday, the ministry stated.
Though the LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran's whereabouts still remained a mystery, unconfirmed reports said that about 300 LTTE cadres committed mass suicide on Saturday night after troops zeroed in on them in the country's embattled north.
Moreover, 70 rebels were killed in a confrontation with troops early Sunday morning, the military said.
Troops confronted the LTTE fighters, who tried to escape from the Nandikadal lagoon in the north east part of the country, killing 70 Tiger rebels, it said.
Six LTTE boats were also destroyed in the operation and the bodies of those killed were subsequently found, it said.
As many as 24,988 Tamil civilians have crossed over from the LTTE areas to the governments controlled ones since May 14 and are camping in welfare camps, the Army said.
"The exodus is continuing and the rescue operation by Sri Lanka Army is in full swing," it said. (ANI)