His reorganisation of SL Army helped crush LTTE:
Army Commander assures LTTE is finished
|On the threshold of winning
Asia’s longest terrorist war, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath
Fonseka said that apart from military commitment towards the
annihilation of the LTTE, the present political leadership
has led the soldiers to close the lid on the decades long
The Army Chief said that
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s commitment towards an end to
the LTTE was never seen in previous regimes, and this had
motivated the military to defeat the LTTE.
Apart from destroying the
terrorist outfit, the soldiers, who turned a new leaf in the
war history by rescuing the world’s largest hostage
population, are now inching towards rescuing the last
hostage under the terrorists herded in a narrow strip of
sandy land in Puthumathalan.
“Inch by inch we are
reaching our target. It is totally a hostage rescue mission
and our soldiers will fight with the terrorists until we
rescue the last hostage under the LTTE”, he said.
Vowing not to let
Prabhakaran or the LTTE raise their ugly heads again, the
war veteran, who fought in every corner of the North and
East, said that the LTTE would be forgotten by the people
In an interview with the
‘Sunday Observer’ he said that no one would challenge the
sacrifices made by the soldiers in each of these victories.
Lt. Gen. Fonseka, who was
tributed by the Indian military expert R.K. Narayan as the
world’s best Army Commander, said that no one would
challenge the sacrifices made by the soldiers in each of
Excerpts of the interview:
Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka
Q: The closure of the sluice gates of Mavil Aru was the turning point
of the whole military operation to wipe out the LTTE. How do you compare
the LTTE then and now?
A: I am grateful to Prabhakaran for selecting Mavil Aru. It was the
correct place to start off this military battle. It had created the best
environment to start attacking him to destroy terrorism. The LTTE was
considered to be one of the powerful terrorist outfits in the world due
to certain propaganda at that time. From Mavil Aru we disproved all
those views. This military thrust to destroy the LTTE has pushed
Prabhakaran - who was born and bred in the beaches of Welwattithurai-back
to the beaches of Puthumathalan.
Q: What were the obstacles that you have faced so far?
A: No major obstacles other than the false propaganda and the
criticisms by unpatriotic people. But the continuous flowing of
ammunition and weapons were another main obstacle to defeat the LTTE. If
the paths for this flow were blocked the Army could have defeated the
LTTE faster than this. The main obstacle in our military thrust was that
the LTTE had enough fire power. Because of this the solders had made
lots of sacrifices from their lives to limbs.
Q: The LTTE was considered as one of the most powerful terrorist
organisations in the world. How do you define them today?
A: Some interested parties - locally and internationally tried to
make the outfit high. They tried to bloat up Prabhakaran’s image. These
groups including the Tamil extremists work hard to create a picture that
the LTTE could not be defeated. They made people to worship the LTTE. On
the other hand, the Tamil diaspora, who believed in separate land for
Tamils, is responsible for these misleading propaganda. Because of them
the LTTE and Prabhakaran had become heroes. But we have proved to the
world that they are not so capable. The LTTEers are not heroes, but only
a group of terrorists.
Q: What do you think was the success behind the repeated war
A: It is the political leadership with the commitment of the military
that led the battle to success. We have the best political leadership to
destroy terrorism in this country. It was never there before to this
extent. The military achieved these war victories after President
Mahinda Rajapaksa came into power.
He, who believed that terrorism should and could be eliminated, gave
priority do go ahead with our military strategies.And no Defence
Secretary was there like the present Secretary Gotabhya Rajapaksa who
had the same commitment and knowledge on how to crush the LTTE. Finally,
they gave me the chance of going ahead with the military plan.
I always got the fullest support from the Air Force for the Northern
operation and the Police and the STF helped me in the Eastern
Amidst military battles that were sweeping the terrorists in each
area that they stepped into, the political hierarchy too had fought a
battle locally and internationally to convince LTTE sympathizers. The
firm decision of the political hierarchy not to go for talks with the
LTTE terrorists until they lay down arms had contributed significantly
to all these war victories. On the other hand, nobody can challenge the
sacrifices that the Army had made. We did not create dramatic moves but
did sincere work to crush the LTTE. Especially we were confident of what
we were doing.
I always set an example for the people under my command and made them
understand that only sincere work would bring good outcome.
Q: Were you confident from the beginning that the Army could defeat
A: Yes, I was aware of the capabilities of the LTTE. We also knew the
strength, weaknesses and the shortcomings of the LTTE. And we started
attacking these points correctly.
Q: Do you think that the changes, like appointing young officers as
GOCs to lead the battle, you brought into the Army had resulted in this
A: I did not select these officers because they are young. But they
were appointed as I thought they were the best to command the battle. I
went to the lines and picked up the capable people. I had to drop those
who had less capacity to lead the battle. Some of them are good for
other work like administration activities. Therefore, the good
commanders were chosen to command this battle. I thought seniority was
immaterial if they could not command the soldiers properly. I
restructured the Army and changed almost all the aspects of the
organisation. I made the Sri Lanka Army a more professional Army.
Everybody had to work with a sense of professionalism.
People of the North and East were brain washed by the LTTE which
claimed that the Sri Lanka Army was an inhuman military. They showed the
soldiers as rapists and murders, but today the reality has come to light
through professionalism. One can guess it from the results that the Army
Q: The Army can now boast about the success of the world’s biggest
rescue operation. How do you plan to rescue the rest?
A: We have completed it over 80 percent and still the terrorists hold
the innocent people under their custody. The soldiers would take the
remaining hostages out of the LTTE soon. Inch by inch we are reaching
our target. As this is totally a hostage rescue mission, the military
has certain constraints in using the full fire power, but we are very
close to completing the rescue mission.
Q: It is reported that the LTTE is trying to destabilise the East.
Will there be room for them to rise?
A: It is impossible due to two reasons. One is that Tamils themselves
would not allow them to come up.
The second is that the Sri Lanka military will not let the LTTE to
We have and will take every initiative to ensure no terrorist will
survive there. Without the support and the faith of the ordinary people
the LTTE cannot survive.
There is no room for the LTTE infiltrators to destabilise the East or
North as both the military and public keep a sharp eye on them.
Q: What would be the future of the LTTE?
A: I do not think that there is a future for the LTTE and
Prabhakaran’s day dream is no more.
Q: Do you mean that the LTTE would not raise its head again?
A: Future is no future for the LTTE. And Sri Lanka military would
ensure that there is no future for the LTTE. The LTTE will be forgotten
by everybody soon.