Sri Lankan troops take more Tiger bases

February 6, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lankan troops captured several Tamil Tiger supply bases on Friday, a day after overrunning the rebels’ last and largest naval base, military officials said. There has been growing concern for the safety of civilians amid reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross that “hundreds” have already been killed. Troops seized a large quantity of automatic assault rifles, detonators and hand grenades, together with trucks and water tankers used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the district of Mullaittivu, an official said.

“Clearing operations are now under way,” the official said, adding that troops were consolidating their hold on the Chalai Sea Tiger base, which was taken on Thursday.

With the fall of Chalai, the Tigers only have access to 20 kilometres (12 miles) of coastline in the northeastern district of Mullaittivu.

Military officials said the total area under rebel control had shrunk to just 200 square kilometres (77 square miles).

Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapakse on Wednesday declared that he was hopeful of crushing the cornered guerrillas in a “few days.”

Sri Lanka has brushed aside in