Sources confirmed to us today that the casualties to the Army in Saturday’s attack to dismantle the Akkarayan LTTE bund and trenchline was well over 100. Army deaths were 30 while LTTE deaths were monitored to be around 38 with 70 LTTE cadres injured. Total injuries to the Army was around 80. The Tigers used CS gas again on Saturday in the eastern flank.
In the meantime, the Nachchikuda Sea Tiger base is being gradually withdrawn by the Tigers. Small groups have started withdrawing along with equipment via the sea. Some land routes are also being exploited by the Tigers. The Army is unable to cut-off all escape routes by land due to obvious reasons. The LTTE withdrawal is towards Pooneryn.
Fighting in the Jaffna Peninsula has also taken a dramatic turn. Army discovered that Tigers were quietly abandoning their FDL to reinforce depleting units in Kilinochchi. This situation is being exploited to the maximum by SLA small attack teams.
A very successful operation was launched last week at Kilali. Five 8-man teams from the 53 Division entered the LTTE’s 1st Forward Defence Line at Kilali last Tuesday night. They found a large stretch of the FDL completely abandoned. This is completely normal as the Tigers withdraw at night and reinforce the FDL again in the morning. But on that particular day, things were unusually quiet in the LTTE FDL. The troops engaged the 2nd FDL with RPGs and LMGs to get the Tigers to fight. But LTTE cadres were nowhere to be found.
Instead of withdrawing, the 5 8-man teams remained in the FDL. By 15th morning, a few scouts were observe closer to the 2nd FDL and by the same evening, Army radio intercepts heard Theepan and Lawrence talking to their fighters in code. The Tigers were planning an attack to annihilate the 8-man Teams.
By 15th evening, the fight was on and the attackers were coming in waves towards the LTTE FDL now occupied by troops. The five 8-man teams, 3 of whom were in the trench and two others on the flanks, engaged the Tigers cutting them down as they appeared. Soldiers counted 20 Tigers killed and suspect that over 80 were injured.
Five soldiers sacrificed their lived in the operation. The dead and the injured LTTE cadres were dragged away by the Tigers who were in full retreat. 6 bodies left behind were seized by the Army. The Tigers had underestimated the determination and patience of the SLA platoon.
This attack perhaps exemplifies the morale and determination of the troops. Though young in years, the officers and men currently serving in the front lines are mastering the game. These no doubt are ominous signs for the LTTE.
Fighting rages south of Kilinochchi
Heavy fighting erupted between the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) today and yesterday when SLA forces moved further into LTTE territory south west of Kilinochchi. Troops from the 57 division have captured large parts of the LTTE built earth bund at Akkarayankulam, overrunning 19 bunkers in the process. Meanwhile 58 division units were able to gain control of Vennerikulam region, including the Vennerikulam tank, amidst heavy LTTE resistance today. However fighting is still going on in north east of Vennerikulam and Adampanmoddai where small groups of LTTE fighters are still at large. On the Mullaithivu front the 59 division units at Andankulam captured a 100m stretch of land ahead of their FDL.
Both parties have suffered heavy casualties in the renewed rounds of fighting with nearly 30 SLA soldiers being killed and around 140 being wounded in the past two days alone. Although the LTTE has not issued any official statement on casualties, their casualty figures are much higher as per intelligence reports. Similar bloody battles are expected as troops now seem to be mounting a full scale advance on de facto LTTE capital, Kilinochchi.
Meanwhile there is still no confirmation on whether Cheliyan was killed in the LRRP attack last week. What is confirmed is that a senior LTTE leader was killed along with two other cadres. No precise intel has been gathered on the identity of the senior leader so far.