Sri Lanka defence chief calls for ban on Tamil Tigers: report

Jan 26, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s defence secretary has called for a ban on the Tamil Tigers and said the ongoing military campaign was aimed at destroying the rebels’ top leaders, a report said Saturday. Rajapakse, who is President Mahinda Rajapakse’s younger brother, said the military had started a campaign to capture rebel-held areas in the island’s north, after securing the east last year.

“We have started our thrust from all sides, from Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya and Weli Oya. It is done in a systematic manner. We don’t plan to stop,” Rajapakse was quoted as saying by the Sinhala-language Lankadeepa newspaper.

He said the military was aiming at eliminating Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and two to three other top leaders.

“If we destroy their leadership, the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) will collapse,” the defence secretary said, adding that it was time the government reinstated a ban on the Tigers.

The rebels were banned for a period of five years till mid-2003, when the then government moved to re-start peace talks under a 2002-Norwegian brokered truce.

The government pulled out of the ceasefire this month, leading to the departure of Nordic monitoring teams.