With the LTTE commemorating heroes day the military was taking no chances and stepped up security in the City. Picture shows Special Forces checking a passenger bus in Wellawatte yesterday.
Reports circulated last afternoon that the military had entered the LTTE-held Kilinochchi town and captured the area.
However an official announcement to that effect was not yet made.
Heavy fighting had broken out on the outskirts of the town as the LTTE made every attempt to defend what was once the administrative capital of the Tigers. Government defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told the media last morning that the fall of Kilinochchi town was imminent as troops had advanced into the outskirts and were attacking the area from the north, south-west and south of the area.
He also said that the LTTE cadres were retreating from the area which is why the presence of the Tigers was not felt anymore.
“There had been weeks of heavy fighting along the outskirts of Kilinochchi. However the LTTE’s presence is not felt anymore by the security forces, which proves that the Tigers are retreating from Kilinochchi. Our troops have established themselves just outside the town which is why we are certain that the fall of Kilinochchi is very imminent,” Minister Rambukwella said.
Clearing operations are also underway in newly captured Kumulamunai and Olumadu which the troops took over earlier this week to allow the free movement of civilians. Clearing operations are also underway along the A-32 road to allow the free movement of traffic from Jaffna to the south.
Meanwhile, security has also been tightened in and around Colombo since yesterday in view of the LTTE Maveerar Day which is commemorated by the Tigers today. Minister Rambukwella said that additional troops had been deployed for duty in Colombo to counter any attack by the Tigers.
Minister Rambukwella said that the Government would also not take into consideration Prabhakaran’s Heroes Day Speech which will be delivered today from his hideout, deep in the jungles of the Wanni.
Meanwhile, as the security forces are preparing to liberate the north, the Government has declared that it would not go in for an immediate ceasefire with the Tigers until the north is liberated by the troops.
Dismissing reports by certain political parties that the Government was ready for a ceasefire, Minister Rambukwella said that it would in no way declare peace and move away from its military operations at a time when Kilinochchi was almost in the hands of the forces.
“We are about to liberate the north and defeat the LTTE. We will not throw this chance away by going in for a ceasefire now. We will first accomplish our goal and then go in for talks. The President has clearly stated to India and the international community that the LTTE has to be defeated before preparing for any talks,” Minister Rambukwella said.
Almost all the battle fields in the Wanni region were reportedly inundated due to heavy rain, ground military sources said. However despite bad weather the military marched through flooded roads in Welioya, Olumadu, Mankulam and the outskirts of Kilinochchi and Paranthan areas.
Since last weekend, torrential rain continued until Tuesday late night hindering the military advance. In some areas, temporary huts belongings to the military had been washed away due to heavy rains and rough winds.
In the Jaffna peninsula also most roads leading to Jaffna town and Palaly were under water restricting the movements of civilians and military.
Meanwhile, in Welioya troops of 59 Division advancing towards the LTTE’s most strategic commanding base in the north-eastern coastal belt – Mullaitivu – , are further consolidating and extending their defences in the general area north of Thannimurippu and Kumulamunai areas.
According to military sources, troops have confronted the LTTE north of Thannimurippu and north of Andankulam areas on Tuesday, inflicting considerable damage to the rebels.
Meanwhile, another battle formation under 59 Division, continuing its march towards Alampil after capturing Kumulamunai, has gained control over a square kilometre in a day’s advances on Tuesday.