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Sri Lanka declares victory over Tigers

By Nick Paton Walsh

Updated on 16 May 2009

Sri Lanka claims victory over the Tamil Tigers as her forces meet on a beach to surround the last rebel-held territory. Nick Paton Walsh reports.

Sri Lanka (Reuters)

Amid talk of victory, the images Sri Lanka wants to hide from the world, a boy suffering malnutrition in a Sri Lankan prison camp taken by an aid organisation.

Sri Lankan forces control the entire coastline of their island for the first time tonight since 1983.

A tiny pocket of Tamil Tiger-held land is now completely surrounded, at a cost of at least 7,000 civilians killed according to the United Nations, and anything from 30,000 to 80,000 are missing.

The Sri Lankan government claims it finally "vanquished terrorism" and seized control of the coastline from the Tamil Tigers.

Military operations, though, are still underway, and there is concern tonight about tens of thousands of civilians that have not yet been accounted for.

The Sri Lankan army made a final incursion into the rebel-held territory today, with troops and tanks moving in from the north and south of the area which had been designated a so-called safe zone.

They finally met up near a shipwreck - cutting off a Tamil Tiger escape route.

Channel 4 News has also learned that doctors who were working at hospitals inside the so-called no-fire zone, who publicised daily the casualties caused by heavy shelling there, have been arrested and their whereabouts are unknown.

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