Sri Lanka Army (SLA)’s 58 division, spearheaded by commando units, have moved into the LTTE stronghold of Pooneryn. SLA units have now entered the Pooneryn town area and several groups of LTTE cadres have fallen back further north towards Kalmunai Point (K-Point). Fighting is still going on.
Meanwhile the 57 division operating south of Kilinochchi have reached the town’s outer borders. On another front, Task Force 3 have made advances into Kokavil area. More updates as we get them.
Pooneryn falls, Paranthan next
Today marks an important milestone in the Sri Lanka Army’s history. The town of Pooneryn fell into the hands of the troops after the 58 Division managed to capture the Pooneryn-Paranthan road in the morning. Soon, two brigades will shake hands across the Jaffna lagoon.
The threat to Jaffna has been reduced by at least 50%. Troops will now march towards Paranthan and then towards Kilinochchi, which will soon be surrounded from the south, north and the west. The jubilant Army Commander, the man behind the entire mission, congratulated Brigadier Shavendra Silva in a telephone conversation this morning. Brigadier Silva and his men from the Commando Regiment were the main ingredients of the success.
As we had predicted, the Pooneryn-Paranthan road was bisected by the 58 who crossed the open marshlands tediously resulting in the immediate fall of Pooneryn, which was abandoned by the LTTE by that time. As we have pointed out earlier, the LTTE had withdrawn its 130mm guns from the peninsula– a former hive of LTTE activity. They had also removed their 122mm mortars.
Task Force 1 troops put their full force behind the thrust after capturing Devil’s Point three days ago. Devil’s point was captured after a tactical crossing of an area with many natural obstacles.
A ferry to link Sangupiddi with Chava
After staring at it for many months and consequent to the deployment of the SLA’s newly formed Task Force 3 (63 Div), the Sri Lanka Army today decided to cross the A-9 highway from the west to the east and capture Mankulam as part of what seems to be an objective to capture Oddusudan and then Mullaitivu. The A-9 was freed from all military operations to facilitate the movement of civilians but the LTTE prevented the civilians from moving out.
The 57 Division, which cleared Adampan and Mallavi went further north via Uylankulam spearheaded by Lt. Col Subhashana Welikala. The same officer was posted to the 63 Division now forming a west to east mobility corridor via Olumadu to Oddusudan as part of TF-3/63 Division. The 57 encountered some resistance in Kokavil last week but are now well set to capture the ground around the Kokavil Rupavahini tower.
The 58 Division, which captured Pooneryn also cleared the area upto Kalmunai Point on the same day, although some sources still claim the area is under LTTE control. The area is completely ridded of LTTE. The Army now plans to deploy a large ferry capable of transporting 500 persons and 5 buses at one time to cross the 4km lagoon from Sangupiddi to Chavakachcheri. Similar ferries were deployed after the Eastern Province was liberated. This will not only ease SLA movements but also open Jaffna to the outside world.
The A-32 has also been cleared and preparations are being made to reopen the road in December. Repairs to the road, including the reconstruction of bridges and culverts will be handled by Army engineers with support from the government’s engineering department.
Meanwhile troops from the 58 Division who bisected the Pooneryn-Paranthan road were less than 9km away from Paranthan Junction. Field Commanders are of the opinion that the LTTE would start withdrawing from Muhamalai and Kilinochchi as they get closer to Paranthan. The 53 and 55 Divisions and the Mechanized Infantry Divisions stepped up attacks on the LTTE FDL there. However, no plans have been made to break lose from the FDL. The situation might however change when the 58 reaches Paranthan.
The 130mm howitzers and 122mm mortars stationed in Pooneryn by the LTTE had been withdrawn after the fall of Nachchikuda, sources confirmed to DefenceWire. Field Commanders told DefenceWire that like in the East the LTTE will move their assets around until they get cornered and eventually destroy their own assets or leave them to be captured or destroyed by SLA or SLAF.