Nanthikadal opens 3 years after the war

The Nanthikadal lagoon, located near the final battle ground of Sri Lanka’s 30 year war, where the leader of the LTTE was killed, has been opened for civilians three years after the war ended, the military said on Wednesday.

The Nanthikadal lagoon was declared open for civilians to fish with de-mining in the surrounding areas being completed.

“There were several mines in the area after the war so it took some time for the mines to be cleared. Now that the area is safe the lagoon has been open for civilians to do fishing,” military spokesman Brigadier Nihal Happuarachi told the Colombo Gazette.

He said the lagoon itself was safe earlier but the surrounding land areas, where LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabakaran was found dead in May 2009, still had mines till the area was declared safe on Wednesday.

Prabakaran’s body was found near the Nanthikadal lagoon in May 2009 and the military at the time said that several LTTE cadres had attempted to protect the rebel leader as the military moved in for the final battle.

A day after Prabakaran’s body was found the military said they had recovered the bodies of his wife and children from the lagoon area.

During the final battle the Nanthikadal lagoon area was declared a no-fire zone but the military later claimed the rebels had used civilians as human shields while attacking the army from the area.

The recovery of Prabakaran’s body and that of several other rebels from near the lagoon prompted human rights groups to call for an investigation following claims the rebel leader was killed after he had surrendered to the army.

The army however denied the claims and said that Prabakaran was killed during a gun battle when he tried to move out of the area with several of his bodyguards.