Sri Lanka re-opens land route to Jaffna

February 25, 2009 (AFP) - Sri Lankan troops has opened the main highway to the northern Jaffna peninsula for the first time in nearly two decades after wresting the route from rebel control, the military said Wednesday.

Government troops operated a food convoy Tuesday along the A-9 highway that had been under rebel control since 1990, a military spokesman said.

"Food and essentials for troops and police in Jaffna went by road on Tuesday," the spokesman said.

He added that the opening of the A-9 meant they no longer had to depend on expensive air and sea transport to the peninsula.

Security forces earlier this year captured the 75-kilometre (45-mile) stretch of the road following heavy fighting.

The guerrillas have lost almost 99 percent of the territory they held to government forces.

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