More than 1,000 civilians escape Sri Lanka war: military

March 22, 2009 (AFP) – More than 1,000 civilians fled Sri Lanka’s war zone as government troops fought to wipe out separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said Sunday. Of the 1,150 who escaped from rebel-controlled areas on Saturday, 108 left by boat while the others walked out through the jungle, it said in a statement.

The military also said it killed two rebel leaders during fighting in the northeast of the island where the guerrillas are cornered. It did not give details of troop casualties.

There was no immediate comment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who the military says are on the verge of defeat.

Independent reports from the conflict zone are scarce as most journalists, aid workers and international observers are prevented from entering the area.