Surrender, President tells Prabhakaran

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday ordered LTTE leader and his remaining cadres to lay down arms, surrender and free thousands of civilians to avoid total annihilation.

Speaking to party supporters at Temple Trees yesterday evening President Rajapaksa said the LTTE, unable to face the military thrust, was now hiding in the no-fire-zone, holding thousands of innocent civilians as human shield, a press release issued by the President Media Unit said.

"The only option available for the Tiger leadership is to lay down arms and surrender to our heroic troops if it wanted to save the lives of the remaining cadres," the release quoted Rajapaksa as saying.

"The LTTE should allow the civilians to go free and surrender to the security forces," said President Rajapaksa.

The Government would never allow the Tamil civilians come to any harm and they had been misled and armed by the LTTE to achieve its political aims, he said.

The programme launched by the Government to save the Tamil civilians had several times been rejected and hindered by some LTTE sympathisers within society but those challenges had been successfully defeated thanks to the support of the people who stood behind the Government, he said.

Four thousand UNP Colombo district members obtained UPFA membership at this meeting.

Ministers Maitripala Sirisena, Mervyn Silva, NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa were also present.

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