Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday appealed to over 10,000 soldiers who had left the military for various personal reasons during the past four to five years to return to fight for their motherland.
"This is a very decisive juncture when the security forces have got the upper hand and need all the help they can get", he told the Sunday Island.
The Tigers are in disarray - they are falling apart like a pack of cards and fleeing for safety leaving behind heavy guns and artillery as never seen before, Rajapaksa asserted.
The LTTE had left behind one 120 mm mortar and two 81 mm heavy mortars and bodies of 33 senior cadres of the elite Charles Anthony brigade, he said.
"We have spent a lot of money and time on training these soldiers professionally and they had subsequently left for personal reasons. We can expedite the process for them to return and all that they need to do is to come back", he assured.
He said that at one time when he had met TMVP leader Karuna and his deputy, the present chief minister of the Eastern Province and asked them to have faith in the political process and to enter the democratic mainstream through the ballot, they harboured doubts about such a possibility.
"Today, they have realized that what they could not achieve through the bullet they had achieved through the ballot".
"Similarly, request those LTTE cadres who have either been misled by Prabhakaran or realized the folly of their resorting to terrorism to surrender to the Government even at this late stage. We are ready to rehabilitate them and assist them to enter the democratic process", Rajapakse said.
"The LTTE cadres only need to place their faith in the ballot and not the bullet and we are genuinely prepared to help them as we have nothing against the Tamils. We are only against terrorism", he pointed out.
"We will help all those who surrender in the same way we helped the TMVP to develop the Eastern Province by entering the democratic process", he noted.
Time is running out for the LTTE, which is facing defeat. The LTTE is collapsing. It’s not very far away - it could be today or even tomorrow, the Defence Secretary said.
"I request the soldiers who left the military to return without delay to assist the ongoing operations in the North".