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DateLine Sunday, 6 July 2008

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Tigers out of bounds in Jaffna - Maj Gen Mark

Civilians extremely cooperative with security forces:

Major General L.B.R. Mark, the Commander of the 51 division in the North which covers the heartland of Jaffna said that the LTTE could not step into the region as the civilians were extremely cooperative with the security forces in preventing any form of infiltration by the terrorist outfit.

Gen. Mark was commenting on the current situation in Jaffna in an interview with the Sunday Observer in the backdrop of the operations currently being carried out by the security forces from all corners in encircling the LTTE in the Wanni.

“There was a time that the Tigers were jumping out of Jaffna to the Wanni and again from Wanni to Jaffna. But now these pranks will not work as the security forces are well aware of the strategies of the outfit and moreover the people of Jaffna are fed up with the LTTE and are very supportive of the security forces in crushing all forms of LTTE infiltration into the peninsula,” Gen Mark said.

He said that soon after the closure of the A-9 highway the LTTE made desperate attempts to infiltrate in a big way into the Jaffna region.

However, the untiring and effective measures adopted by the security forces with the assistance of the Jaffna civilians had crushed the LTTE’s attempts. Now the outfit being a ‘lame duck’ in the Wanni could not even think of returning to the Jaffna mainland.

He also said that the citizens’ committees comprising senior citizens in Jaffna were having a good rapport with the security forces and helping them in every way to maintain law and order.

“With the assistance of the civilians we were not only able to curb the infiltrations but were also successful in carrying out numerous raids and recovered a large haul of arms and ammunition. “The recent cultural festival and trade fair organised by the security forces in Jaffna was a grand success and the event highlighted the confidence the people of Jaffna have in the security forces.

The civilians in Jaffna are now much happier and say that they are more safe in Jaffna than in Colombo. People who travel to Colombo from Jaffna return to the region as early as possible saying that they are more comfortable in Jaffna than in Colombo.

The majority of leading educational institutions including the University of Jaffna and Government establishments come under the purview of the command of the 51 division.

Therefore, unlike in previous years the schools and the university function without any disturbances such as picketing and strikes which were manipulated by the LTTE.

Agricultural and trading activities are taking place smoothly and I would say that elections could also be conducted in the peninsula in time to come,” Gen Mark said.

He said that army chief Lt.General Sarath Fonseka was constantly in touch with the Jaffna command and gives instructions.

So if I were to put it in a ‘nutshell’ the LTTE which is getting a severe beating in the Wanni cannot dream of getting back into the Jaffna mainland as it is no more the Jaffna they knew of,” Gen Mark said.

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