COLOMBO (AFP) — More than 6,200 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed and nearly 30,000 wounded in security forces' final offensive to completely defeat Tamil Tiger separatists, state television reported Friday.
Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, in an interview with state TV, said the final offensive against the Tamil Tigers began in August 2006 with the troops retaking an irrigation canal that was seized by Tigers.
"Since then the security forces, including the army, navy, the airforce, police and the civil defence force, have lost 6,261 personnel killed and 29,551 wounded," Rajapakse said.
"We made huge sacrifices for this victory."
It was not immediately clear if the fatalities included those listed as missing following heavy battles with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who were defeated earlier this week and their leadership killed.
Rajapakse, who is also President Mahinda Rajapakse's brother, said a total of 23,790 military men and women had been killed since 1981.
He did not give casualty figures for the Tigers, but the rebels admitted in November that they had lost over 22,000 cadres since the first guerrilla death in November 1982.
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