B. Muralidhar Reddy
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday announced the capture of Elephant Pass, a crucial base of the LTTE at the gateway to Jaffna linking the peninsula with Wanni. With this, the military has taken total control of A 9 highway.
In a special address on state-owned television, Mr. Rajapaksa dwelt on the significance of controlling the highway that linked the north to the south and talked of an ‘international conspiracy’ to belittle the victories of the forces against terrorism.
After the LTTE lost Kilinochchi on January 2, the fall of Elephant Pass was widely anticipated. The military had lost the place to the LTTE nine years ago in one of the bloodiest battles, in which 359 soldiers were killed and 2,500 injured. “Similarly, bringing Point Pedro and Devundara (Dondra Head) together the A-9 route has been completely freed from the clutches of the LTTE”, the President said.
The government shut down the highway in August 2006 as it had become a cash cow for the Tigers.