Sri Lanka fighting kills 32 Tigers: ministry

March 7, 2009 (AFP) – At least 32 Tamil Tigers were killed in heavy fighting in Sri Lanka’s embattled northeast, where government troops have cornered the rebels, the defence ministry said Saturday. “The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) end game is reaching its final phase,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that dozens of rebels were also wounded in Friday’s clashes around the coastal Mullaittivu area.

It accused the Tigers of killing three civilians and seriously injuring another as a group of people tried to flee rebel areas in six boats.

The ministry did not give its own casualties, but said troops recovered weapons from the Tigers who were killed on Friday.

There was no statement from the Tiger rebels, who have been cornered in a narrow strip of land in Mullaittivu.

The military has said it hopes to defeat the Tigers completely by April, bringing an end to decades of armed conflict.

The Tigers, who have been fighting since 1972 to carve out a separate Tamil homeland in the majority Sinhalese island nation, have lost much of their territory in the past two years.