Sri Lanka steps up search for Tiger remnants: report

June 21, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka is pouring more troops into former rebel-held areas in the east of the island to hunt down remnants of the Tamil Tigers following their defeat in the north, a state-run weekly said Sunday. The Tigers have admitted that they lost their top leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in a final battle last month, but the military believes that some lower-level cadres may still be in hiding and could try to regroup. The military was boosting its strength in the east — around the towns of Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara — to where some guerrillas are thought to have fled, the Sunday Observer said.

“The main concern of the army is to nab the remaining Tiger cadres now moving in the Eastern Province,” the paper said. “The Sri Lanka army is now taking measures to increase the strength in the east.”

There was no immediate comment from the military, which declines to discuss troop deployments publicly.

However, official sources confirmed that security forces have begun combing jungles in the east, and have already clashed with two groups of fighters from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).