Sri Lanka troops move in to finish off Tamil Tigers: spokesman

May 17, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops were Sunday moving in on the final patch of jungle still held by Tamil Tigers and were set to capture “every inch of land” from the rebels, a military spokesman said. Government forces were pressing on with the blistering offensive despite the Tamil Tigers announcing they would “silence their guns” , spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said.

“We will fight and take back every inch of land they have occupied,” Nanayakkara said, adding that the surviving guerrillas were boxed in to a jungle patch that was less than one square kilometre (half a square mile).

Military sources said that the remaining guerrillas continued to offer resistance despite an announcement by the group’s international spokesman Selvarasa Pathmanathan that they had stopped fighting.

The defence ministry, however, said that all civilians held by the Tigers as human shields had been freed by Sunday morning.

“It is that much easier for troops to break in now and neutralise the remaining resistance,” an army source said, adding that security forces could go for the final push under the cover of darkness.

President Mahinda Rajapakse on Saturday announced that the Tigers had been def