Archive for March 25th, 2008

Sri lanka army’s offensive to capture the Madhu area and free nearly 5000 IDPs trapped in the vicinity of Madhu  church has been temporarily halted due to stiff resistance by the tigers. Soldiers engaged in the main military advance have returned to original positions but several small groups consisting of specially trained units are still  deployed in the no man’s land. Troops had advanced 4km into LTTE held territory when heavy fighting broke out. The battle raged for 12 hours straight and the army took a tactical decision to halt the advance in order to prevent personnel losses. The Army was able to prevent heavy losses being incurred in an offensive where long range artillery support was not available (due to the fear of civilian casualties).

Army started the offensive when the LTTE shelled army FDLs and Omanthei checkpoint (Which is the only supply entrance to Wanni LTTE controlled region ,where thousands of civilians are trapped) using heavy weapons deployed in civilian settlements. A total of 9 soldiers were killed and 58 others were injured during this offensive. Out of the 58 injured, 48 soldiers received only minor injuries and they will soon rejoin the battle front within at least 2-3 days.  Nearly 30 guerillas were killed and above 50 are said to be wounded. Army’s Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment and Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) were used in this offensive.

It should be noted that the Army did not retreat with a tractor load of dead bodies as mentioned by several pro LTTE media. This was never a large scale offensive aimed at capturing territory but a pre emptive strike conducted to neutralize rebel gun positions deployed in civilian settlements.

(Defence Net)

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