Colombo: Sri Lankan Army on Thursday claimed the completion of demining of nearly 2,000 sq km areas for the resettlement and restoration of livelihoods of those affected by the three-decade long conflict with Tamil rebels.
The announcement came ahead of Saturday`s grand ceremony to celebrate the Victory Day or the fourth anniversary of defeating militarily the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
"In less than four years since the end of conflict we have been able to clear all areas that are essential for resettlement of people, their livelihood such as agriculture.
"We have also cleared areas that are essential for development to take place," military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said.
In the process of demining, the Army had suffered one death and injuries to over 15, he said.
"Out of an area of 2,064 Sq Km, identified as hazardous we have completed clearance of 1,968 Sq Km thus, leaving only 96 Sq Km to be cleared.
"These areas too are mostly jungles," Wanigasooriya said.
"We have recovered hundreds of thousands of anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines, and numerous other personnel mines, anti tank mines, and numerous other forms of improvised explosive devices during this process and the total recovered is close to one million."
The Victory Day celebrations are to be presided over by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and meant as a tribute to government troops who ended the LTTE`s over three decades of separatist campaign.