Opposition challenges war progress claims

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 September 2008, 05:38 GMT]
Hours after a devastating Tamil Tiger attack on the Sri Lankan military’s headquarters in Vavuniya, the main opposition Tuesday questioned the government’s claims of progress in the war against the LTTE, press reports said Wednesday. “The Air Force base and the Police HQ of Vavuniya was attacked using heavy artillery. Radar defence system is completely destroyed. This happened in an area that government has always claimed has been liberated a long time ago, and cleared of any LTTE activity,” United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne was quoted by The Bottom Line newspaper as saying.

“In the last PC elections, the state media claimed that the fall of Kilinochchi was near and the military is close to capturing the town,” he said.

“But it was only on September 4th, that they captured Mallavi town. We ask the government not to mislead people,” he said.

“In the last two years, over 1800 soldiers were killed while 9901 were injured,” he added.

According to the UNP MP, more than 5000 have lost their limbs, making it impossible for them to work in the military.

Seneviratne also added that the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse is embezzling vast quantities of money reserved for military operations.

“They bought F 27 and [Mig]29 planes to destroy the LTTE planes. But we all know how much the ministers pocketed from these funds. The LTTE Aircrafts are still air borne,” he said.

The UNP also claimed that 14 military personnel were killed and 29 were wounded while the radar system at the Vavuniyaa Air Force base had been destroyed by yesterday’s LTTE attack.

“Also, several policemen were killed during the attack,” said UNP parliamentarian Range Bandara.

“Two Indian nationals who were working as radar operators were also injured during the attack,’ he added.

The UNP MP claimed that in the recent attack on Anuradhapura UNP candidate, Dr. John Pulle, the police used tear gas canisters that did not go off. “That was because they were duds, so I wonder whether the government is providing the military with the same quality equipment,’ Bandara added.



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