Sri Lanka: Army has seized last rebel stronghold

January 25, 2009 19:35


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Sri Lankan forces captured the Tamil Tigers' last major stronghold of Mullaittivu on Sunday, confining the rebels to a narrow slice of jungle and ending their decade-long domination of the country's north. Army commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said the bloody separatist war that has plagued this Indian Ocean island nation since 1983 was nearly over. But analysts warn that it is simply shifting from a conventional fight between two armies to a guerrilla war likely to be fought among the hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians reportedly trapped in the northern jungles with the rebels. In recent weeks, the Sri Lankan army drove the rebels from their administrative capital of Kilinochchi, forced them to retreat from most of the de facto state they controlled across a wide swath of the north and boxed them into a shrinking pocket of land.

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