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Sri Lanka's rebels lose 60 percent territory: Army chief
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07:34, September 27, 2007

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Sri Lanka's Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said Wednesday that Tamil Tiger rebels have lost 60 percent of the territory they controlled in the island's Northern and Eastern provinces during the last two years.

The Army Commander told reporters that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have also faced severe internal problems according to intelligence sources.

"We have killed over 3000 of their cadres in our humanitarian operations while another 1000 of them had been injured," Fonseka said.

However, Fonseka said the rebels still possess a large amount of weapons and ammunition as they had amassed them during the start of the ceasefire period between 2002 and 2004.

Fonseka took over the reins of the Sri Lanka Army in December 2005.

His assuming of office was greeted by a series of road side bomb explosions by the LTTE against the troops in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

The new cycle of violence in the conflict has so far cost over 5000 lives while the Army recorded a series of significant military victories against the rebels.

In mid-July the government claimed that the entire Eastern Province had been cleared of rebels.

The LTTE said they had only staged a tactical withdrawal from the province.

The island's separatist armed conflict continues despite the Norwegian backed peace process and the February 2002 ceasefire agreement.

Claiming discrimination at the hands of the Sinhala majority, the LTTE has been fighting against the government since the mid- 1980s to establish a separate homeland for the minority Tamils in the north and east.

Source: Xinhua

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