Archive for December, 2008

Another LTTE held village in the Mullaithiv district, Ampakamam, was captured by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on today (15th) morning. Ampakamam was an strategically important village for the LTTE and it was used for a number of military purposes including cadre movement and logistics transport. Small attack teams from VIR (Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment), SR (Sinha Regiment), SLLI and GR (Gajaba Regiment) attached to the Task Force 03  have been targeting LTTE fortifications in Ampakamam for a few days until the tigers were left with no choice but to flee.

Meanwhile, several pro LTTE media have been celebrating ‘victories’ achieved by the LTTE on the Kilinochchi front. One such article claimed that LTTE fighters killed over 120 SLA soldiers and injured another 250 or so troops. Actual SLA casualties are less than half of these figures and the SLA were not pushed back in any of those fronts. Terumurikandy junction is under SLA control even as of this moment. Some humorous articles even suggested that SLA operations were being halted due to shortage of troops. These are not true. The army is actually planning to deploy another new division – The Task Force 05 – to the Wanni theater of battle in the coming days.

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  • Tigers unload weapons on Mullaitivu beaches
  • Navy attacks vessel bringing in weapons

It is no secret that the LTTE continues to receive weapons and other lethal cargo. A Tiger vessel carrying weapons set sail in the direction of Sri Lanka some two weeks ago. This was revealed in this columnist on December 14.

Heavy fighting in Kilinochchi earth bund amidst rain of mortarsThe navy’s destruction last Sunday morning of an LTTE vessel transporting weapons in the seas off Mullaitivu confirms the revelation made in the column.
The cargo vessel had set sail from the direction of the Philippines. Intelligence agencies warned that the ship had been loaded with artillery and mortar shells, along with aircraft fuel while in Indonesia and was sailing towards Sri Lanka. Naval forces on the Eastern seas were put on high alert. Dvoras prowled the seas off the Mullaithivu coast.
On Friday (19th), an Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (U.A.V.) of the Air Force made two reconnaissance flights over Mullaitivu. High definition cameras on board the craft spotted Tiger cadres loading weapons which had been brought over by boat, onto trucks which were parked on the beach. Fighter bombers were dispatched to the location immediately, but the bad weather prevailing at the time made it difficult for the pilots to find their targets.

Meanwhile, the navy spotted a medium sized vessel around two hours after midnight on Sunday morning. The vessel was sailing around 70 nautical miles off Mullaitivu. After ascertaining that the vessel, which was around 25 metres in length, was a Tiger ship transporting weapons, the navy dvoras opened fire. As navy dvoras P.473, P.475, P.481 and P.483 were firing at the vessel, four Sea Tiger attack craft entered the scene. One of them was a suicide craft. The navy claims they sank all four of these craft as well. The navy is still engaged in operations in these seas. The reason is clear. They expect another, much larger vessel transporting weapons to arrive. However, there is no word yet on what happened to the other vessel.
Meanwhile, the army continued with its advance on the Kilinochchi front. They are meeting with stiff resistance from the Tigers. A senior military officer told this column that the Tigers were now using all their strength to defend their remaining territory.

Remaining bastions

“Oddusudan, Mullaitivu, Vetthalaikarni, Elephant Pass, Paranthan and Kilinochchi are the remaining bastions of the LTTE. The LTTE is offering stiffer resistance as we get nearer to these places” said the officer.
Around 6.15 A.M. on the 23, the Tigers launched a massive attack on the army forward defence line at Iranamadu. 400 mortar rounds and 44 artillery shells fell on the positions occupied by troops. “They didn’t fire mortars, they rained them” said a senior military officer in the field.

This forward defence line was occupied by the Tigers a week before. The 574th brigade, led by Lieutenant Colonel Senaka Wijesuriya wrested control of this defence line from the Tigers on the 16th.
As mortars rained down on the troops, the Tigers used a T.55 main battle tank to direct fire at the army defence line. This was the first time in recent times that the LTTE used a tank against the troops.
In the face of Tiger resistance, troops were forced to make a tactical withdrawal from the Iranamadu earth bund.

In the meantime, the 572nd brigade led by Lieutenant Colonel Dhammika Jayasundara managed to capture a 1 km stretch of the Tiger earth bund situated on their way to Kilinochchi west of the A-9 road. The 571st brigade is fighting towards the left of this brigade. Adampan is their theatre of operations. The 571st brigade came under fierce Tiger attack two weeks ago. But, the troops persevered and were able to capture a 2 km stretch of the Adampan earth bund by Monday (22nd). Lieutenant Colonel Harendra Ranasinghe is leading troops on this front.

The 58th division is fighting to capture the Tiger earth bund from Adampan to the Kilali lagoon. This division is commanded by Brigadier Shavindra Silva. Troops of this division captured Sinnaparanthan on Tuesday (23rd). Sinnaparanthan is located on the B.69 Pooneryn-Paranthan road. Paranthan junction is located 6 km from Sinnaparanthan. With the capture of Sinnaparanthan, troops now control the stretch of the Tiger earth bund running from the Jaffna lagoon to the B.69 road.

Fierce battles were fought to capture Sinnaparanthan. Torrential rains turned the open ground ahead of the Tiger earth bund into muddy and difficult terrain. Troops made their way towards the earth bund though they sank knee deep in mud. Tigers are estimated to have fired around 150 mortar rounds on troops at Sinnaparanthan. LTTE’s “Colonel” Swarnam had been directing the battle from just 100 metres of the bund. Intercepted radio communications revealed that the reason for Swarnam to come this close to the battle front was to direct an effort to recover the body of an LTTE Lieutenant Colonel who had been killed in the fighting. However, his body, together with that of five other Tiger cadres fell into the hands of the army. They were later handed over to the LTTE through the ICRC. According to reports reaching from the battlefront, the distance between the 58th division and Paranthan is now 6 km. The capture of Paranthan junction will be a decisive moment in the history of Eelam war IV. If they reach Paranthan, troops will have the option of choosing to move on either Elephant Pass or Kilinochchi.


Meanwhile, the army’s Task Force 4 was able to capture Nedunkeni barely 24 hours after it commenced operations. Colonel Priyantha Wanniarachchi is leading troops on this front. He was on an official overseas visit when Task Force 4 commenced its operations on Saturday (20th). In his absence, Lieutenant Colonel Priyantha Wijegunawardena led the troops. Task Force 4’s 642nd brigade, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Randula Hathnagoda captured Nedunkeni.

Nedunkeni is in the Mullaitivu district. A number of main roads connect with each other at this location. Oddusudan is located 10 kilometres to the north of Nedunkeni. Oddusudan will be important to troops as they advance towards Mullaitivu.

With Task Force 4 also commencing operations, six fronts are now connected with each other. On the eastern border is Mullaitivu. The 59th division is fighting there. Task Force 4 is to their east. Task Force 2 and Task Force 3 are fighting east of the A-9 road.
The 57th division is engaged in battle at Iranamadu on the A-9 road. The 58th division is the last division connected on this front. Thus, 6 fronts have now been opened in order to capture Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.

Commander-In-Chief Mahinda Rajapaksa claims that the LTTE will be annihilated. He named 2009 as war heroes’ victory year in a meeting with intellectuals at the Presidential Secretariat on the 22nd. In his speech, the President also emphasized that he would not hesitate to ban the LTTE if they failed to release civilians who were trapped in the Wanni.
However, banning the LTTE will have no impact on current military operations. The impact will be on any future peace talks.

The President’s comments are further proof that the government is not prepared to go for any sort of negotiated settlement with the Tigers. Clearly, the objective is to completely crush the LTTE by military means.

293 navy personnel awarded Ranashura and Ranawickrama medals

293 navy personnel were awarded Ranawickrama (R.W.P.) and Ranashura (R.S.P.) medals for acts of bravery performed on the battlefield. The medals were awarded at a ceremony held at the Sugathadasa Stadium on the 20th. Navy Commander Vice-Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was the chief guest. The navy commander awarded 5 Ranawickrama and 288 Ranashura medals to sailors.

This is the first time in a long while that medals for bravery were awarded to navy personnel. A number of navy officers are also due to receive Weera Wickrama Vibhushana medals for their heroic acts in volunteering to save the lives of others while risking their own. These medals can only be awarded by the President. They are due to be awarded to these officers by the country’s President and Commander-In-Chief Mahinda Rajapaksa at a ceremony in the future.

(Lakbima News)

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  • Navy surveillance lapses allow LTTE to smuggle in military supplies
  • Troops make advances on several fronts, but Tigers also change strategy to defend smaller area

In just three more days, the dawn of 2009, will usher Sri Lanka into a new era though what it portends exactly remains unclear. Throughout the old year, 2008, the ongoing separatist war has remained the major issue to preoccupy the Government and Sri Lankans alike. The country received the most number of references in the media worldwide on this one single issue.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, declared in September that troops “will hopefully take Kilinochchi by December, this year” He told editors, publishers and senior journalists during a meeting at “Temple Trees” that the rest of the north would be taken thereafter though he could not place a time frame.
Last Tuesday, however, he announced that 2009 would be the “Year of Triumph over terrorism.” The latest remarks came during a ceremony where State honours were conferred on one of Sri Lanka’s best-known actresses, Malini Fonseka. Earlier, his military leaders placed deadlines within this year, shifting them from time to time, but earning many a headline in the local and foreign media.

A soldier keeps watch on the Nayaru Lagoon in the Weli Oya sector. It is now under the control of the Army’s 59 Division.

One of the vagaries of Sri Lanka’s two-and-half-decade long separatist war is the different forecasts made by leaders of successive Governments placing different time limits. This is to achieve military objectives. Some even directed military campaigns towards this end. Thus, for Governments, the separatist war has been political stock-in-trade.

Compared to previous regimes, the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration is distinctly different. It can make a bold claim, perhaps justifiably, for being the largest shareholder in the war effort. Since being voted President in November 2005, he has strengthened the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police to unprecedented levels. He has also modernised them to positions that did not exist before by making available new equipment. In 2008, all this has led to an unprecedented transition.

At no time before have the people experienced such a high degree of security consciousness or experienced constraints arising from them. At no time before have there been so many checkpoints and the introduction of new security measures. One such important measure, already formulated, awaits implementation. It will subject all Sri Lankans to body checks at checkpoints or other locations to ascertain whether they are carrying mobile phones that belong to them. It would become illegal to use one registered in another’s name. The delay is because the issue has been challenged in courts.
The exact increase of the armed forces and police cannot be divulged for obvious reasons. However, an aggregate would be well over 300,000. This would include many auxiliary units including the Civil Defence Force. The numbers are growing. It was only last week The Sunday Times (Situation Report) revealed that 32,000 youth responded to the Army’s recruitment drive last year. From January to November this year, it was revealed that the response was 38,000. The increases are the result of wide publicity given to military successes.

Of course, as against this, there have been desertions too. From January to November this year, there have been more than 11,000. Those arrested have been tried before a Military Court Martial and jailed. Those who have surrendered availing themselves of periodic amnesty offers have been punished, re-trained and re-deployed.

A military machine that is growing in numbers requires more equipment. That naturally means more money. With top priority given to the separatist war, the biggest challenge for the Government in 2009 would be funding the mounting defence expenditure. True, the largest budgetary allocation of Rs 177.1 billion in 2009 is for defence, an increase of Rs 11 billion from the current year. As past experience has shown, the allocations have always been exceeded with more money pumped in. Delayed deadlines and resultant counter measures are often the main causes.

This is in the backdrop of a global economic downturn that has already caused ripples in Sri Lanka’s economy. Tourist arrivals have been low and many resorts are complaining of poor occupancy. The tea industry is in the midst of a crisis with exports hitting a new low. Leading corporate bodies and export houses have not been able to pay their employees bonuses or increments this December. Some are worried about the prospect of retrenching staff to stay afloat. The Government itself is mulling over seeking a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

There is no doubt that the ongoing military campaign against Tiger guerrillas has brought about a qualitative change this year. If the guerrillas did dominate vast tracts of territory in the Wanni, the areas have now shrunk. It is now confined to only parts of the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. However, the question of the existing guerrilla strength remains a critical factor. Senior military officials have claimed periodically that they are much below a mere 5,000.

Official military accounts seen by The Sunday Times have placed the guerrilla death toll for past three months at 902 killed and 681 wounded. The details are: September 209 killed,323 wounded; October 273 killed and 245 wounded and November 420 killed and 113 wounded. Independent verification of these figures is not possible. For reasons that are now obvious, casualty figures of troops cannot be discussed. Suffice to say the numbers are substantial.

Well-informed intelligence sources, however, estimate the guerrilla strength to be anything between 10,000 and 12,000. This is said to include “policemen” and civilians trained in combat. These sources now confirm that the guerrillas who held back their hardcore cadres were now inducting them into battle, sometimes shifting roles from a defensive posture to engaging in counterattacks. This is how the guerrillas resisted a thrust by some 7000 troops who moved on five different fronts to re-capture Kilinochchi on December 16. Both sides suffered heavy casualties in fierce battles.

Senior defence officials argue that a larger strength of troops and police would be required particularly after they re-capture the remaining strongholds of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. The troops are to provide back-up to a string of police stations the Government proposes to set up. This is to be a prelude for the re-settlement of civilians for development activity to begin. All this, naturally will hinge on the re-capture of the remaining areas.

In offering fierce resistance so far, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has demonstrated two significant aspects. One is the fact that they have retained their hardcore strength and thrown them into battle to prevent ceding Kilinochchi. Similarly, the 59 Division’s advance in the Weli Oya sector beyond Mulliyavalai has seen guerrillas shifting positions further northwards. Preparations are being made to defend the coastal village of Chilawattai, which lies south of Mullaitivu. Similar preparations are also being made inland with the re-positioning of artillery guns and mortar locations.

A large number of civilians trained in combat have been deployed in this sector. More snipers had also been assigned new locations. Intelligence sources say the Sea Tigers, Jeyanthan “Brigade” and Sodia “Regiment” has been deployed to fortify the Mullaitivu area.

The other is the fact that the guerrillas have had recourse to continued military supplies. Last week, the Navy claimed it had destroyed a vessel carrying “war like” material together with four Sea Tiger attack craft. Weeks earlier, the Navy had received specific intelligence warnings of guerrilla moves to smuggle in through the northeastern coast military supplies said to include artillery shells, mortars, assorted ammunition among others. Such warnings had given dates and the sea route the vessel would traverse. Yet, they were not successfull in thwarting the guerrilla move altogether.

More details of the sea encounter have now emerged. An authoritative Air Force source told The Sunday Times the guerrillas had smuggled in a ship load of supplies through the coastal village of Vellamullivaikal (north of Mullaitivu) on December 20. They had been packed in large crates and were brought ashore by guerrilla cadres. “We have incontrovertible video evidence of the entire unloading operation. They were placed before last Wednesday’s meeting of the National Security Council,” the source said but declined to elaborate.

Though there is no evidence of four guerrilla attack craft being destroyed, the Navy, with the support of the Air Force, did hit one vessel. Naval craft had fired over 900 rounds at guerrilla boats. However, a second one had slipped through to unload military cargo. Similarly, shipments had also slipped through earlier. This was how the guerrillas used large quantities of mortars during the Army’s five-pronged thrust towards Kilinochchi on December 16. This prompted an Army officer in the Wanni frontlines to say there was a “mortar monsoon,” as reported last week. There were a considerable number of mortar casualties during this encounter.

Since the thrust by some 7,000 troops eleven days ago, there were at least two counterattacks by guerrillas this week. One came in an area between Terumurukandi and Iranamadu on December 20. In fierce battles where both sides suffered heavy casualties, the guerrillas pushed the troops back some two kilometres. Just a day later, on December 22 troops fought back to regain the lost ground though some casualties were suffered. The guerrillas had positioned artillery guns to fire at some locations, which the troops seized.

There were other battlefield gains this week. Troops of Task Force 1 captured a larger area of Kunjiparanthan. This was after they successfully crossed a ditch-cum-bund. From near that location troops of 57 Division moved ahead to gain little ground southeast of the Iranamadu tank. The Task Force 3 regained control of Ampakamam on the Karupattimuruppu-Vaddakachchi Road. South of this road, Task Force 2 regained control of Karuppukutti and Sinna Adampan.

In the Weli Oya sector, troops of the 59 Division advancing northwards regained control of part of the Mankulam-Mullaitivu Road between Muthiyankadukulam and Mulliyawalai. A more significant gain came from troops of the newly created Task Force 4 who were deployed in the western part of the Weli Oya only last week. They re-captured Nedunkerni. Thus, they linked up with forward elements of Task Force 2 advancing from Wanni west to east. Once they formally link up and establish their defences, troops would control a vast, contiguous stretch of territory from Wanni west to east. Weeks earlier, guerrillas had withdrawn from these locations to areas in the immediate outskirts of Mullaitivu to defend that strategic northeastern coastal town. See map on this page for details of gains made by troops.

In the coming weeks, the troops’ main focus will be to re-capture Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu areas. On land, they have virtually placed a siege on them. However, at sea, it has become quite clear that the naval cordons have been ineffective allowing the guerrillas to re-supply and offer stiffer resistance.

This year, the Army has made significant gains to deny guerrillas a long-standing reality. That is to deny them the claim that they dominate two thirds of Sri Lanka’s land area and five sixth of the coastline. It has now shrunk to areas within the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. However, that is only in terms of dominating territory.

There was no way the guerrillas could have offered resistance on all fronts in a wider area all the time to a sophisticated, modernised Army. They simply do not have that conventional capability. That is why they had fought to delay systematically a troop advance for months, caused economic and human damage. That is why they have now chosen to defend a smaller area with all their reserves and firepower that is renewed periodically with new shipments. It is for this reason that their military capability should not be underestimated.

The words of ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu said more than 2,500 years ago on waging war are still relevant. He noted:

“….When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, the men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardour will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength, and if the campaign is protracted, the resources of state will not be equal to the strain. Never forget: When your weapons are dulled, your ardour dampened, your strength exhausted, and your treasure spent, other chieftains will sprint up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however, wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

“Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays. In all history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Only one who knows the disastrous effects of a long war can realise the supreme importance of rapidity in bringing it to a close. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war who can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on……..”

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his senior military leaders are conscious of these sound realities. That is why he has declared 2009 the “Year of triumph over terrorism.” Hence, beginning next week, all expectations will be on which way the last phase of Eelam War IV is headed.

Army top brass retire

Some of Sri Lanka Army’s senior officers are to retire this week. Among them is Major General Lawrence Fernando, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force (SLAVF). He is also the Overall Operations Commander (OOC), Central Province.

He will be succeeded by Major General Sumith Balasuriya, now Commandant of the Kotalawala Defence University (KDU). No replacement has still been named for OOC, Central Province.

Taking over as Commandant, KDU is Brigadier Milinda Peiris. He has just returned to Sri Lanka after a stint at the National Defence College in India.

Major General G.A. Chandrasiri, Commander, Security Forces, Jaffna (SFHQ-J) will relinquish office. He will be succeeded by Major General Mendaka Samarasinghe. He is currently Overall Operations Commander (OOC) Colombo. Taking over this position is Brigadier Mano Perera, now officiating General Officer Commanding the Army’s 52 Division.

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Intense fighting broke out along the Kilinochchi and Paranthan defences on December 16 as the Security Forces launched their final battle to capture Kilinochchi and Paranthan. The attack continued for the past ten days in the same breath as troops expanded their positions along the Tiger earth bund despite heavy counter attacks by the LTTE.

A heavy barrage of artillery and mortars fell on the Tiger defences and also on the advancing troops as the battlefront took a new turn, most probably due to renewed fire power of the LTTE. However, troops managed to advance into Tiger territory amidst all these obstacles as the weather conditions were improving enabling the troops to face the battle in a better environment compared to the situation that prevailed last week.

What is more significant is that, Task Force I troops under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva continued to take the upper hand in the Paranthan front expanding the 1.5 Kilometre stretch of the earth bund they captured on December 16, in the North of Pooneryn – Paranthan road to more than three kilometres as of yesterday effectively foiling all Tiger counter attacks to recapture it.

Soldiers operating in West of Killinochchi

Troops braved the flooded and muddy terrains in the Paranthan front adjoining the Jaffna lagoon front to expand their positions along the earth bund towards Pooneryn-Paranthan road whilst columns of troops advancing more than three kilometres ahead of the Tiger earth bund captured Sinnaparanthan, one of the important locations ahead of Paranthan.

Troops attached to the 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment under the command of Kithsiri Ekanayake and 17 Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Colonel Kottawatta managed to clinch this victory whilst troops of the 8 Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Colonel Vajira Welagedara expanded the positions on the ditch cum earth bund towards Adampan to the south of Pooneryn-Paranthan road.

With this move Paranthan AG office area came under the control of the troops as they are operating some six kilometres West of Paranthan junction.

The capture of Sinnaparanthan area is vital for the troops as it opens gateways to Paranthan, Kilinochchi and even Elephant Pass which are vital locations for the LTTE at present.

Troops of the Task Force I are now operating in the same area they were operating in 1997 during the Sath Jaya operation to capture Kilinochchi from the Tigers. Therefore, every move by the Task Force I between Kilinochchi and the Jaffna peninsula is vital as they are moving to grab the neck of the Tiger territory that links the body and the head through vital arteries across Paranthan.

Troops in Paranthan front expanding their positions Pictures by Rukmal Gamage

As troops were consolidating their positions in Sinnaparanthan LTTE launched a massive artillery and mortar fire towards the area on Wednesday morning from 5.30 a.m. in their bid to recapture the area.

But it was effectively foiled by Task Force I with the active support given by the Sri Lanka Air Force and directing barrages of artillery and mortar into Tiger positions compelling the Tiger cadres who arrived to recapture the earth bund to flee leaving behind their wounded.

The radars of Task Force I detected that three 130 mm artillery guns located in Iyakachchi area were directing fire towards the defences of the troops whilst 122 mm artillery and 120 mm mortars were falling to the front from the North of Kilinochchi.

It was a clear indication that the LTTE had received fresh stocks of artillery and mortar rounds to intensify their thrust towards the advancing Security Forces. It is apparent that they have managed to unload a significant stock of artillery and mortar on board the medium size Tiger vessel that was destroyed in the sea off Mullaitivu by the Sri Lanka Navy last Saturday morning.

Therefore, it is vital for the Sri Lanka Navy to intensify the patrolling in the narrow stretch of Eastern seas now available for the LTTE to smuggle arms and ammunition into their territory.

Though the LTTE tried to display their massive fire power it seems they have failed to muster the manpower needed to launch counter attacks to recapture the terrain now dominated by the troops. It was because massive number of Tiger cadres fell victim to the Security Forces over the past one week in their bid to halt the advance of the Security Forces.

In the Paranthan front alone troops managed to kill at least 15 Tiger cadres a day by launching assaults on their bunker lines and taking sniper targets.

As troops of the Task Force I headed towards Paranthan, troops attached to the 57 Division under the command of Major General Jagath Dias also made a significant improvement in the battlefront facing Kilinochchi from all directions.

If there were any lapses on the part of the Security Forces during the battle that erupted on December 16 and during the subsequent counter attacks the troops attached to the 57 Division too managed to recapture the Tiger earth bund after the fresh combined operation launched by the Task Force I and the 57 Division on December 22.

The 571 Brigade which faced major drawback on December 16 offensive managed to rise from the ashes as they were able to capture two kilometres of vital section of the earth bund facing the West of Kilinochchi on December 22.

571 Brigade is now under the command of Lt. Colonel Harendra Ranasinghe who earlier acted as the Colonel General Staff of the Task Force I. He replaced Colonel G.V. Ravipriya’ who was appointed as the Commander of the Mannar Area Headquarters.

Monday’s assault on the Tiger defences in the Kilinochchi front turned into a debacle for the LTTE as troops of the 571 Brigade managed to capture two kilometre stretch of the earth bund with minimum number of casualties but causing maximum casualties to the LTTE.

It was at 5.30 a.m. in the morning on Monday that troops attached to 9 Gajaba Regiment under the Command of Lt. Colonel Chandana Somaweera, 4 Sinha Regiment under the Acting Command of Major Wasantha Hewage and the 12 Sinha Regiment under the Command of Major Weerasinghe (the Second in Command of the Sinha Regiment) launched this massive assault on the Tiger earth bund with Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships giving close air support to the ground troops.

Within an hour they managed to capture a two kilometre stretch of the earth bund which is located just five kilometres west of Kilinochchi centre. As they consolidated their positions they managed to foil all counter attacks launched by the LTTE killing at least 50 Tiger cadres ahead of their defences.

As of yesterday troops were in the process of clearing the area ahead of them as LTTE failed to even evacuate the casualties and dead bodies from the area.

The troops attached to the 572 Brigade under the Command of Lt. Colonel Dhammika Jayasundera also managed to move ahead of the Tiger earth bund to establish their defences during December 22 attack.

The troops attached to the 574 Brigade under the Command of Lt. Colonel Senaka Wijesuriya operating in South of Kilinochchi also managed to cause heavy damages to the LTTE.

The earth bund captured by the 574 Brigade on December 16 was recaptured by the LTTE last Saturday in a massive counter attack on the troops operating there.

Though troops had to give up the earth bund intercepted radio transmissions have confirmed that 24 hardcore Tiger cadres were killed and 30 others injured during the fierce battle.

Therefore, after ten days of intense battles the Security Forces have once again taken complete control of the battle in the Kilinochchi and Paranthan battlefront without leaving any doubt about their future moves to capture the de-facto Tiger capital Kilinochchi.

Yet it is not an easy task for the Security Forces as Tigers are preparing for a do or die battle in Kilinochchi as they deploy their hardcore cadres to the front. Therefore, expected more fierce battles will erupt in the Kilinochchi front as they move further interior into the Kilinochchi area which is a matter of only few moves for the troops operating in the edges of build up area.

What is not realised by the LTTE is that they have to strengthen their depleting ranks if they continue to hold their positions inflicting damages to the Security Forces.

As the main battle continues in the edges of Kilinochchi the newly formed Task Force IV under the command of Colonel Nishantha Wanniarachchi managed to capture Nedunkerni in the South of Oddusudan taking a vital area in the Mullaitivu district under their control.

That will definitely pave the way for troops to reach the areas in which LTTE is keeping the innocent civilians as hostages. Though the number of civilians fleeing the Tiger grip see a significant increase, a large number of civilians are yet to be freed by the Security Forces from the Tiger grip.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a fervent appeal to the LTTE to release these innocent civilians giving indications that LTTE would be proscribed if they did not respond.

So it is obvious that exactly a year after withdrawing from the Ceasefire, the Government is heading towards proscribing the LTTE if they continue to harass the Tamil civilians further.

Therefore, the year that dawns next Thursday would be a challenging one for the Security Forces as they are to liberate the entire North from the Tiger grip as predicted by the President.

Therefore, the support of the common masses is vital at this juncture of the war against terror. They are the real strength behind the Security Forces’ victories, as they tolerated each and every hardship to strengthen the hands of the Security Forces.

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People in many countries believe in astrology, but horoscopes have a particularly enthusiastic following in Sri Lanka.

Many consult astrologers when choosing marriage partners, on when to start new jobs, or even to find out the auspicious time to leave their house in the morning. And politicians are said to be heavily influenced by the stars too.

At a wedding hall in Colombo, a bride and groom are sitting on a stage brightly decorated with paintings of Hindu gods. At their feet, several Hindu priests are breaking coconuts and lighting oil lamps, performing rituals to invoke blessings on the couple. The invitation was very precise, the ceremony would take place at what was described as the auspicious time of 1109 local time, as set by astrologers.

It was an arranged marriage, and astrology had been a key factor in deciding whether Vijayaruban and Umaranjini should wed. Their horoscopes had been examined to see if they were compatible. “It matched 85% or something,” said Vijayaruban. “So it is a good thing. Both sets of parents are happy and we are happy.” If the horoscopes had not been so attuned, he added, the family would have tried to find another girl for him to marry.

Astrological passport

Astrologers play a significant role in the lives of Sri Lankan people from the Tamil and Sinhala communities.

Eshwaran Kurukkal is the sixth generation in his family to perform the task, which is combined with priestly duties such as officiating at weddings. He is a member of the Brahmin caste. Every day, but especially on auspicious days, people come to visit him in his consulting rooms in his suburban Colombo house.

The astrologer wears traditional dress – a white sarong with a purple and gold border. He is bare-chested, with gold necklaces and diamond stud earrings. His long hair is pulled back, and his wrists, elbows, shoulders and forehead have three white stripes, marked with powder.

Mr Eshwaran is examining a client’s horoscope, a printed book about the size of a passport. Inside there are sections for name, names of parents, and the positions of the stars and planets at the date and precise time of birth.

Many people keep the documents throughout their lives.

“We think if we didn’t write a horoscope for a child when the child was born, it would be a very big sin,” says Mr Eshwaran. “That is important, more important than a birth certificate.”

Political star gazers

Belief in the stars is widespread in Sri Lanka where people routinely sit down to start work on the first day of a new job at auspicious times set by astrologers.

Even many politicians follow astrology, right up to heads of state.

“[Former president Ranasinghe] Premadasa was very much aware of astrological predictions for him, and would very often make his actions commensurate with that,” says Bradman Weerakoon, who served as secretary or advisor to nine Sri Lankan leaders.

Mr Weerakoon says he is sure that Sri Lanka’s first woman prime minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, was astrologically inclined and that current President Mahinda Rajapaksa is also “perhaps moved that way”.

“I am sure elections, dates of elections and so on are very often set on politicians getting their horoscopes read and finding out what is the best time for them.”

Of the leaders he has encountered, Mr Weerakoon says only opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe does not seem to be inclined towards astrology.

‘Hero king’

It is to astrologer Sumanadasa Abeygunawardene that many politicians have turned.

He says he even advised President Rajapaksa on the auspicious time to leave his house in the deep south to vote in the 2005 elections in which he became Sri Lanka’s leader.

“Twenty-five years back, I said there would be a hero king from Ruhuna, Matara, now he’s the one, we believe, President Mahinda Rajapaksa,” said Mr Abeygunawardene.

“So President Rajapaksa’s horoscope is a powerful one. He is the one who will bring development to the country. He will defeat the enemies and terrorists.”

Mr Abeygunawardene said he had seen the horoscope of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tigers.

He said the rebel’s horoscope was more powerful than those of previous Sri Lankan presidents, but Mahinda Rajapaksa’s was stronger still.

Back in the wedding hall, Vijayaruban and Umaranjini were just hoping their marriage would be successful.

Even though they did not know each other very well, they were confident they will have a happy life together.

It was, after all, written in the stars.

(BBC News)

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ආර්ථිකය අඩපණ කිරීමේ වෑයම කොටි සැලසුමක කොටසක්ද?

තමන් යුදමය වශයෙන් පරාජයකට, පසුබෑමකට ලක් ව ඇති බව පිළිගන්නා මුත් දැන් රජයේ ආර්ථිකය කඩා බිඳ දැමීමේ වැඩ පිළිවෙළක් කි‍්‍රයාවට නඟා ඇතැයි ද එමඟින් හමුදාමය කි‍්‍රයාමාර්ග අඩපණ කිරීම තම සැලසුම බවද එල්ටීටීඊ දේශපාලන අංශ ප‍්‍රධානී නඩේසන් පවසා ඇත.

රටේ ආර්ථිකය අඩපණ කිරීම මඟින් ශ‍්‍රී ලංකා රජය උතුරේ ගෙන යන හමුදා මෙහෙයුම් දුර්වල කළ හැකි බැව් රොයිටර් පුවත් සේවයට පවසා ඇති නඩේසන් වැඩි දුරටත් පෙන්වා දී ඇත්තේ ශ‍්‍රී ලංකා රජයට එරෙහිව ගෙන යන සටනේ එක් ප‍්‍රධාන උපක‍්‍රමයක් වශයෙන් රටේ ආර්ථිකය අඩපණ කිරීම තම ඉලක්කය වී ඇති බවත් ය.

යුදමය වශයෙන් කොටි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන් දිගින් දිගටම පරාජය ලබන බවත් එම පරාජය ආපසු හැරවීම සඳහා රජයේ ආර්ථිකය අඩපණ කිරීමට කොටි සංවිධානය මෙන් ම ජාතික හා විදේශික බලවේග සියුම් වැඩපිළිවෙළක් කි‍්‍රයාවට නඟමින් සිටින බවත් මීට පෙර දේශපාලන විචාරකයන් පෙන්වා දී තිබිණි.

පරාජයේ මුව විට දක්වා ගමන් කර සිටින කොටි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන් රොයිටර් පුවත් සේවයට කැර ඇති ප‍්‍රකාශයෙන් ඉහත කී රාජ්‍ය විරෝධී කුමන්ත‍්‍රණයක් පැවැති බව තහවුරු වන බවත්, රජයට ලැබෙන ආදායම් හා විදේශ ණය ආධාර, ජී.එස්.පී. බදු සහනය වැනි අවස්ථා අහිමි කිරීමට මෙරට ඇතැමුන් විසින් ගෙන ගිය වැඩපිළිවෙළ සමඟ කොටි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන් ගේ උපාය හොඳින් සමපාත වන බවත් දේශපාලන ක්‍ෂේත‍්‍රයේ අවධානයට ලක්ව තිබේ.

රොයිටර් පුවත් සේවය සමඟ ඊමේල් මඟින් අදහස් පළ කොට ඇති නඩේසන් එහිදී මූලික වශයෙන් පෙන්වා දී ඇත්තේ යුදමය වශයෙන් ලබන පසුබෑමකට තම සංවිධානය ලක් ව සිටින නමුත් තම ඉලක්කය වන්නේ රජයේ ආර්ථික ව්‍යූහයට පහරදීම බවත් එම සම්මුඛ සාකච්ඡාව උපුටා දක්වන සුඩර්ඔලි පුවත්පත වාර්තා කොට තිබිණ. පහර දිය යුතු තැන් හඳුනාගෙන ඇති බවත් නිසි මොහොතේ අදාළ ප‍්‍රහාර සිදු කරන බවත් හෙතෙම එම සාකච්ඡාවේදී පවසා ඇත.

පෙරට එන රජයේ හමුදාවන්ට මුහුණ දී නොහැකිව පලා යන පරාජිත කොටි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන් රටේ ආර්ථිකය අඩපණ කිරීම මඟින් හමුදා ගමන ආපසු හැරවිය හැකි බැව් සිතන්නා සේම මහජන ඡන්දයෙන් බලයට පත් විය නොහැකි ඇතැම් දේශපාලන බලවේග උත්සාහ ගන්නේ රටේ ආර්ථික සංවර්ධනයට බාධා ඇති කොට රජය අසීරුවට ලක්කිරීම බවත් පෙන්වා දුන් රජයේ ඉහළ නියෝජිතයකු තවදුරටත් කියා සිටියේ මේ දෙපිරිසම සිදු කරන රහසිගත වැඩපිළිවෙළේ මූලික අරමුණ ත‍්‍රස්තවාදයට එරෙහි හමුදාමය මෙහෙයුම් අඩපණ කොට එල්ටීටීඊය රැකගන්න අතරම රජය ආර්ථික අතින් අසීරුවට ලක්කිරීම බවත් ය.

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2008 ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට ජයග‍්‍රාහී වසරකි. වන්නි සටනේ සුවිශේෂ ජයග‍්‍රහණ රැසක් ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට ලබාගත හැකිවිය.

පෙබරවාරි 28

මන්නාරම දෙසින් ඉදිරියට ගිය 58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් යෝධ වැව බලය මුළුමනින්ම අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී.

අපෙ‍්‍ර්ල් 25

කතෝලික බැතිමතුන්ගේ පූජනීය ස්ථානයක් වන මඩු දේවස්ථානය සති ගණනාවක සටනකින් පසු 57 වන සේනාංකය විසින් මුදා ගන්නා ලදී.

අපෙ‍්‍ර්ල් 30

58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් ලීමා බේස් හා වෙප්පන්කුලම් මුදාගන්නා ලදී.

මැයි 09

58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් මන්නාරම අඩම්පන් නගරය මුළුමනින්ම අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී.

මැයි 29

59 වන සේනාංකය විසින් මුලතිව් හි මූනක්කම් බේස් කඳවුර මුදාගන්නා ලදී.

ජූනි 26

57 වන සේනාංකය විසින් මන්නාරම පෙරියමඩු ප‍්‍රදේශයේ බලය මුළුමනින්ම තහවුරු කරගන්නා ලදී. එය මඩු ප‍්‍රදේශයෙන් පසු එල්ටීටීඊයේ ශක්තිමත් කඳවුරකි.

ජූනි 27

58 වන සේනාංකයේ 1 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාව විසින් මන්නාරම ආන්දන්කුලම් නගරයෙන් බලය අල්ලා ගන්නා ලදී.

ජූනි 28

58 වන සේනාංකය විසින්ම මන්නාරම පරප්පකඩන්තන් ප‍්‍රදේශයේ ශක්තිමත් එල්ටීටීඊ කඳවුරක් වූ බානුබේස් කඳවුර අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී.

ජූනි 28

ඉතා සශ‍්‍රීක ප‍්‍රදේශයක්ව තිබූ ඓතිහාසික සහල් නැලිය ප‍්‍රදේශයේ සම්පූර්ණ බලය 58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී.

ජූලි 4

මුලතිව් වනාන්තරයේ ප‍්‍රබල කොටි කඳවුරක් වූ මයිකල් බේස් මුදාගැනීම 59 වන සේනාංකය විසින් සිදුකරන ලදී.

ජූලි 16

බටහිර වෙරළේ ඉතා ශක්තිමත් මුහුදු කොටි කඳවුරක් හා සැපැයුම් මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් වන වෙඩිතලතිව් දරුණු සටනකින් පසු 58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී.

ජූලි 20

මන්නාරම තවත් ප‍්‍රබල කොටි මර්මස්ථානයක් වන ඉලුප්පු කඩවායි මුදාගන්නා ලදී.

ජූලි 22

තුනුක්කායි හා උයිලන්කුලම් මුලතිව් දිස්ති‍්‍රක්කයේ තවත් කොටි කඳවුරු දෙකක් 57 වන සේනාංකය විසින් අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී.

ජූලි 27

මුලතිව් වන් ෆෝ බේස් කඳවුරු සංකීර්ණයේ සුගන්ධන් බේස් 59 වන සේනාංකය විසින් මුදාගැනීම.

අගෝස්තු 2

මන්නාරමේ වෙල්ලන්කුලම් ගම්මානය කොටින්ගේ තවත් ශක්තිමත් කඳවුරකි. දරුණු සටනකින් පසු 57 වන සේනාංකය එය මුදාගත්හ.

අගෝස්තු 11

එල්ටීටීඊ මුහුදු සැපැයුම් ජාලය තවත් දුර්වල කරමින් 58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් මන්නාරම කල්ලෙකුඩා ජැටිය මුදාගැනීම.

අගෝස්තු 13

57 වන සේනාංකය සේනාංකය විසින් කල්විලාන් හා මුලන්කාවිල් කොටි කඳවුරු දෙක මුදා ගන්නා ලදී..

අගොස්තු 17

මුලතිව් ජීවන් බේස් කඳවුර ද දැඩි සටනකින් පසු 59 වන සේනාංකයට යටත් විය.

සැප්තැම්බර් 2

ප‍්‍රභාකරන්ගේ බිරිඳ මදිමදිනිගේ උපන් බිම වන මල්ලාවි කොටි පරිපාලන මධ්‍යස්ථානය 57 වන සේනාංකය විසින් කොටි ග‍්‍රහණයෙන් මුදාගන්නා ලදී.

සැප්තැම්බර් 22

58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් බටහිර වෙරළේ පාසරායි මුහුදු කොටි කඳවුර මුදාගන්නා ලදී.

ඔක්තෝබර් 20

වන්තේරිකුලම් කොටි කඳවුර 58 වන සේනාංකය සතුවිය.

ඔක්තෝබර් 28

බටහිර වෙරෙළේ තවත් කොටි කඳවුරක් වන නොච්චිමොඩයි මුදාගන්නා ලදී.

ඔක්තෝබර් 29

බටහිර වෙරළේ ප‍්‍රබල මුහුදු කොටි සැපැයුම් මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් හා මුහුදු කොටි කඳවුරක් වන නාච්චිකුඩා ඉතා දරුණු සටනකින් පසු 58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී. එදිනම ඊට පරිවාරක කඳවුරක් වූ ජෙයපුරම් ද හමුදාව සතුවිය.

නොවැම්බර් 11

මුලතිව් දෙසින් ඉදිරියට ගිය 59 සේනාංකය තුමුලමුනෙයි ගම්මානයේ කොටසක් අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී.

නොවැම්බර් 13

පුනරීන් කඳවුරට ආසන්නයේ පිහිටි යක්තුඩුව හා වල්ලෙයිපාඩු මුහුදු කඳවුරු 58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් අත්පත් කරගැනීම.

නොවැම්බර් 15

බටහිර වෙරළේ අවසන් මුහුදු කොටි කඳවුර වන පුනරීන් ඉතා දරුණු සටනකින් පසුව අත්හැරීමට එල්ටීටීඊ යට සිදුවිය. 58 වන සේනාංකය විසින්ඒ32 පුනරීන් – මන්නාරම මාර්ගයේ බලය මුළුමනින්ම අත්පත් කරගන සටන ජයග‍්‍රහණය කිරීම.

නොවැම්බර් 29

59 වන සේනාංකය මුලතිව් දෙසට යමින් ඔටියමලේ කන්දේ පිහිටි කොටි බංකර් හා සැඟවුම් ස්ථාන සියල්ල දරුණු ගරිල්ලා සටනක් ජයග‍්‍රහණය කරමින් අත්පත් කර ගැනිණි.

දෙසැම්බර් 01

57 වන සේනාංකය විසින් කිලිනොච්චි නගරයට දකුණින් වූ තවත් කොටි පාලන මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් වූ කොකාවිල් නගරය අත්පත් කරගන්නා ලදී.

දෙසැම්බර් 04

9 වන සේනාංකය විසින් මුලතිව් හී අලම්පිල් මුහුදු කොටි කඳවුර අල්ලා ගැනීම. මෙහි තිබී කොටි බෝට්ටු 100 ක් ද සොයා ගැනිණි.

දෙසැම්බර් 04

පුලියන්කුලම කොටි බල ප‍්‍රදේශය ද 2 කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාව විසින් අල්ලා ගන්නා ලදී.

දෙසැම්බර් 05

57 වන සේනාංකය විසින් කනකරායන් කුලම් වැව් ප‍්‍රදේශය මුදාගන්නා ලදී.

දෙසැම්බර් 06

59 වන සේනාංකය විසින් නැඟෙනහිර වෙරළේ කොටි බලය අඩපණ කරමින් චෙම්මලේ හා නයාරු කලපුව මුළුමනින්ම යටත් කොට අත්පත් කර ගැනීම.

දෙසැම්බර් 14

කිලිනොච්චි දෙසට ඊට දකුණින් මෙහෙයුම් කරන 3 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාවඒ9 මාර්ගයේ ඉදිරියට යමින් කිරුමුරිකණ්ඩි නගරය අල්ලා ගන්නා ලදී.

දෙසැම්බර් 16

වන විට පරන්තන් දෙසින්, බටහිර දෙසින් කිලිනොච්චි බලා ඇදෙන 57 හා 58 සේනාංක කිලිනොච්චි මහා පස් බැම්ම පස් පොළ කින් බිඳ දමමින් කිලිනොච්චි ජනාවාස ප‍්‍රදේශයට ප‍්‍රවිෂ්ට විය.

දෙසැම්බර් 17

59 සේනාංකය මුලතිව් දෙසට පියවර නඟමින් මුල්ලියාවේලි දකුණු ප‍්‍රදේශය අල්ලා ගත්හ.

දෙසැම්බර් 21

ප‍්‍රහාරයන්ට අලුතින් යෙදවූ 4 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාව එල්ටීටීඊයේ තවත් සැපැයුම් මංසන්ධියක් වූ නැදුන්කර්නි නගරය අල්ලා ගත්තේ මුලතිව් හා කිලිනොච්චි අතර ඔවුන් ගේ සැපයුම් මාර්ග තවත් අඩපණ කරමිනි.

දෙසැම්බර් 23

පරන්තන් වලට කි.මී. පහක් බටහිරින් ඒ 35 මාර්ගයේ පරන්තන් නගරයට පිවිසෙන දොරටුව බඳු සින්න පරන්තන් හෙවත් පුංචි පරන්තන් 58 වන සේනාංකය විසින් අත්පත් කර ගන්නා ලදී.

එදිනම අම්පගාමම් වලට උතුරින් මානකුලම් නගරයට කි.මී. 15 ඊසාන දිගින් වූ පළලින් මී. 10ක් දිගින් මීටර 200 ක් වූ ගුවන් පථයක් සොයා ගන්නා ලදී.

මෙය හමුදාව සොයාගත් කොටින්ගේ තෙවැනි ගුවන් පථයයි.

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නාවික හමුදාව මඟින් කොටින්ගේ තවත් කුඩා ප‍්‍රමාණයේ අවි නැවක් විනාශ කළේ පසුගිය සෙනසුරාදා එනම් 20 දා අලුයමය. සෙනසුරාදා අලුයම 1.30ට තවත් මුලතිව් මුහුදු තීරයට ඊසාන දෙසින් ගැඹුරු මුහුදේ කිසියම් නාඳුනන නැවක් සැරිසරනු මුර සංචාරයේ යෙදුණු නාවික හමුදා යාත‍්‍රාවන්ගේ උකුසු ඇසට ලක්විය.

එදෙසට වහා ඇදී ගිය නාවික හමුදා යාත‍්‍රා එය හඳුනාගැනීමට සංඥා නිකුත් කළේය. එහෙත් ඒ නැවෙන් ආ ප‍්‍රතිචාර එතරම් සුදුසු නොවීය. පසුව නාවික හමුදාව ඒ නැව සතුරු යාත‍්‍රාවක් බව හඳුනාගෙන අනතුරු සංඥා නිකුත් කළේය. එවිට නැවෙන් ප‍්‍රති ප‍්‍රහාර එල්ල වූ අතර ඊට සහායට තවත් කොටි යාත‍්‍රා පෙළක් ද ඉදිරිපත් විය.

දිගින් මීටර 30 ක් වූ ඒ නැව එල්ටීටීඊයේ නැවක් ලෙස හඳුනාගත් නාවික හමුදාව ඊට ප‍්‍රහාර එල්ල කෙළේය. ඒ සිය අධිවේගී ප‍්‍රහාරක යාත‍්‍රා බලඝනය මඟිනි.

පැය බාගයක සටන අවසානයේ නාවික හමුදා ප‍්‍රහාරයෙන් නැව ගිනිගත්තේය. ගිනි දැල් සමඟ නැව පුපුරන්නට විය. එහි යුද උපකරණ හා පුපුරන ද්‍රව්‍ය තිබුණු බවට එය සාක්ෂියක් විය.

නැවට සහායට ආ කොටි යාත‍්‍රාවන්ට නාවික හමුදාව මෙන්ම ගුවන් හමුදා ප‍්‍රහාරක ජෙට් මඟින් ද ප‍්‍රහාර එල්ල කරන ලදී. එම ප‍්‍රහාරයෙන් බෝට්ටු හතරක් ගිනිගෙන විනාශ විය.

මෙය ටික කාලයකදී යළිත් කොටි යුද අවි ප‍්‍රවාහනයට නැඹුරු වී ඇති බවට සාක්ෂියකි. එහෙත් රට වටා විමසීමෙන් සිටින නාවික හමුදාවෙන් බේරී දැන් ඉස්සර මෙන් පිටස්තර යානයකට හෝ පුද්ගලයෙකුට ශ‍්‍රී ලංකා මුහුදු තීරයට ඒමට හෝ ඉන් පිටවීමට නොහැකිය.

ප‍්‍රභාකරන් රටින් පිටවන්නට ගියොත් ඔහුව අල්ලා ගැනීමට දැල එලා ඇති බව නාවික හමුදාපති වයිස් අද්මිරාල් වසන්ත කරන්නාගොඩ පසුගියදා පැවසුවේ නිකම්ම නොවේ.

මේ අතර මුලතිව් මුහුදු තීරයේ දිස් වූ තවත් කොටි බෝට්ටු හතරක් ගුවන් ප‍්‍රහාර මඟින් විනාශ කළේද පසුගිය අඟහරුවාදා උදෑසනය. මුලතිව් මුහුදු තීරයේ කඩොලාන අතර තිබූ බෝට්ටු හතරක් ගුවන් හමුදා නිරීක්ෂණයන්ට හසුවූයේ ඒවා ගැටගසා තිබූ කඹ ගුවනට දිස්වූ බැවිනි. ගුවන් හමුදා ප‍්‍රහාර මඟින් බෝට්ටු හතරම විනාශ කෙරිණ.

ගුවන් හමුදාව නිතර අහසේ සිට යුද බිම කි‍්‍රයාකාරකම් නිරීක්ෂණය කරයි. අධීක්ෂණය කරයි. එහිදී 57 – 58 සේනාංකවලට සහාය පිණිස එල්ටීටීඊ මර්මස්ථාන පස්බැමි මතට ප‍්‍රහාරක ජෙට් හා හෙලිකොප්ටර් මඟින් බෝම්බ හෙලා විනාශ කරන්නේය.

පසුගිය සතියේ සිකුරාදා එවන් ගුවන් ප‍්‍රහාර 8 ක් සිදු කෙළේය. සෙනසුරාදා ඉරිදා ගුවන් ප‍්‍රහාර එතරම් කි‍්‍රයාත්මක නොවීය. සඳුදා ගුවන් ප‍්‍රහාර එකොළහකි. අඟහරුවාදා ගුවන් ප‍්‍රහාර දහයකි. ගුවන් ප‍්‍රහාර දිගටම කි‍්‍රයාත්මක කෙරෙන බව ගුවන් හමුදා ප‍්‍රකාශක විංග් කමාන්ඩර් ජනක නානායක්කාර පවසයි.

මේ සියලු ප‍්‍රහාර සිදුකරන්නේ ආවාට ගියාට නොවේ. පාබල හමුදාවන්ගේ මෙන්ම නාවික මෙහෙයුම්වලට සමගාමීව ඒවාට සහාය පිණිසයි. එමෙන්ම ගුවනින් හොඳින් ඉලක්ක නිරීක්ෂණය කිරීමෙන් අනතුරුවය.

කිලිනොච්චිය වටකොට මහවැස්සේම හමුදා සේනාංක තුනක් පහර දෙද්දී කිලිනොච්චි මහ සටන ඇවිළුණේ පසුගිය සතියේය. 16 වැනි අඟහරුවාදා දරුණු ලෙස ඇවිළුණු ඒ සටන කොටි විශාල ගණනකට මරු කැඳවමින් ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට ද තරමක හානි ගෙනදෙමින් තවමත් පවතින්නේය.

වැඩි හානි කොටින්ටය. කොටින්ගේ මෝටාර් හා කාලතුවක්කු වෙඩි වර්ෂා මැද ආරක්ෂක හමුදා ඉදිරියට ම යන්නේය.

මේ කිලිනොච්චි සටන මැද අලුතෙන් ප‍්‍රහාරයන්ට එක් කළ 4 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදා ගිය සතියේ සිය කුළුඳුල් මෙහෙයුම් අරඹමින් කිලිනොච්චිය දකුණු දෙසින් මුලතිව් දෙසට ප‍්‍රහාරයන් කි‍්‍රයාත්මක කළහ. ඔවුන්ගේ පළමුවන මෙහෙයුම ඉතා සාර්ථක විය.

ඒ 9 මාර්ගයට නැඟෙනහිරින් කි‍්‍රයාත්මක වූ 4 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාවේ 641 බළසේනාවේ 14 සිංහ රෙජිමේන්තුව සිය මුල්ම මෙහෙයුම සාර්ථක කරගනිමින් කොටි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන්ගේ තවත් ප‍්‍රධාන මර්මස්ථානයක් වූ නැදුන්කර්නි අත්පත් කර ගත්තේය. 20 දා සවස ඊට ඇතුළු වූ හමුදා 21 වෙනිදා මුළු නගරයම අත්කර ගත්තේය.

නැදුන්කර්නි හමුදාවට යටත් කරගත හැකිවූයේ වසර 9කට පසුවය.

1998 ජය සිකුරු මෙහෙයුමෙන් ආරක්ෂක හමුදා අල්ලාගත් මේ ප‍්‍රදේශය 1999 ද යළිත් අත්හරින්නට සිදුවිය.

නැදුන්කර්නි පිහිටා ඇත්තේ යාපනය මහනුවර ඒ 9 මාර්ගයේ පුලියන්කුලම හන්දියේ සිට නැඟෙනහිරට මුලතිව් දක්වා යන මාර්ගයේ කි.මී. 16 ක් දුරිනි.

මාන්කුලම් ඒ 34 මාර්ගයේ ඔඩ්ඩුසුඩාන් සිට කි.මී. 10 ක් දකුණු දෙසින් පිහිටි නැදුන්කර්නි නගරය මුලතිව් ඔඩ්ඩුසුඩාන් පුලියන්කුලම හා ඕමන්ත දක්වා දිවෙන මාර්ග ඇරඹෙන මංසන්ධියකි.

නැදුන්කර්නි අහිමිවීමෙන් කොටින්ට සැපැයුම් මාර්ග 3 ක් අහිමිවෙයි. එමෙන්ම සංග‍්‍රාමික වශයෙන් ද මේ ප‍්‍රදේශය වැදගත් වෙයි.

එමෙන්ම පුලියන්කුලම සිට ඔඩ්ඩුසුඩාන් හා මුල්ලියාවේලි කරා යන්නේ ද නැදුන්කර්නි හරහාය.

මුලතිව් සිට කිලිනොච්චි දක්වා භාණ්ඩ හා අවි සැපයුම් ගනුදෙනු කෙරෙන ප‍්‍රධාන මංසන්ධියක් ලෙසද නැදුන්කර්නි හැඳින්වෙයි.

මෙය කොටින්ගේ පරිපාලනමය හා යුදමය මධ්‍යස්ථානයක් ද වෙයි. එහෙත් ආරක්ෂක හමුදා ප‍්‍රහාර හමුවේ එය රැකගැනීමට කොටින්ට නොහැකි විය.

නැදුන්කර්නි අහිමිවීම කොටි සංවිධානයේ සිය මුලතිව් බළකොටුව අහිමිවීමේ පෙරනිමිත්තකි. නැදුන්කර්නි හී ප‍්‍රාදේශීය ලේකම් කාර්යාලය, පාසල, රෝහල, සමූපකාර ගොඩනැඟිලි ඇතුළු සියලු ගොඩනැඟිලි පොදු මහජනතාවගේ නොව කොටින්ගේ කටයුතු සඳහා වෙන්කරගෙන ඇති අතර ඒවායේ බංකර පවා තනා තිබෙනු දැකිය හැකිවිය.

පරන්තන් බටහිර කි‍්‍රයාන්විතයෙහි යෙදෙන 1 වන කාර්ය සාධක බළකායේ වීරෝදාර රණවිරුවෝ එල්ටීටීඊ ආරක්ෂක බැම්මේ තවත් මීටර් 300 ක් පමණ ඉදිරියට අත්පත් කරගත්හ.

එහිදීම බටහිර දෙස සිට දකුණට මෙහෙයුම් සිදුකළ පළමුවැනි කාර්ය සාධක බළකාය පුංචි පරන්තන් හෙවත් සින්න පරන්තන් ප‍්‍රදේශය අත්පත් කරගත්හ. එය අත්පත් කරගත්තේ පසුගිය 23 වන අඟහරුවාදා උදෑසනය.

සින්න පරන්තන් පිහිටියේ පරන්තන් සිට කි.මී.6 ක් බටහිර දෙසින්ඒ 35 මාර්ගයේ ය. මේ ප‍්‍රදේශය මුළුමනින්ම ත‍්‍රස්තයන්ගේ තෝතැන්නක්ව පැවැතියේය. මෙහිද රජයේ ගොඩනැඟිලි සියල්ලකම කොටි ත‍්‍රස්තයින් බංකර් ඉදිකොට තිබිණ. යුද අගල් ද කපා තිබිණ. මෙහිදී කොටි 12 ක් මිය ගිය බව ආරක්ෂක ආරංචි මාර්ග පවසයි.

මින් ඉදිරියට ඇති එල්ටීටීඊ අවසාන පස් බැම්මද බිඳ දැමීමේ මෙහෙයුම් දැන් 1 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාව හෙවත් 58 සේනාංකය 57 වන සේනාංකය එකතු ව අරඹා ඇත.

මේ අතර 3 වන කාර්ය සාධක බළකාය ඒ 34 මාර්ගය දෙසින් මුලතිව් වෙත ගමන් කළහ. ඔවුහු එහිදී මුලතිව් මුල්ලියාවේලි ප‍්‍රදේශයට කි.මී.7 බටහිර දෙසින් ඇති ඒ 34 මාර්ගයේ කොටසක් මුදාගත්හ. අම්පගාමම් නගරයට උතුරින් මෙහෙයුම් කරමින් සිටි ඔවුන්ට එල්ටීටීඊයේ තුන්වන ගුවන් පථයක් ද සොයාගැනීමට හැකිවිය. එය පළලින් මීටර් 10 ක් හා දිගින් මීටර් 200 ක් වූවකි. මුලතිව් දෙසින් බටහිරට එන 59 සේනාංකයේ තවත් බළසේනාවක් එනම් 593 බළසේනාවේ 5 සිංහ රෙජිමේන්තුවේ සෙබළු ඒ 34 මාර්ගයේ තවත් කොටසක් මුදාගත්හ.

කිලිනොච්චියට දකුණින් ඇති ඒ 34 මාර්ගය දෙපස ඇත්තේ සරුසාර තේක්ක වගාවකි. මේ රජයේ තේක්ක වගාව මුළුමනින්ම එල්ටීටීඊ ත‍්‍රස්තයන් අතින් විනාශ වී ඇති අයුරු ආරක්ෂක හමුදා වන්ට දැකගත හැකිවිය.

ඒ 34 මාර්ගය එල්ටීටීඊය අණසක මැද වසර ගණනාවක්ම පැවතියෙන් එහි නඩත්තු කටයුතු දුබල වී ඇත. අසල වනාන්තරයෙන් කැපූ ලී කොටන් මාර්ගයේ දෙපස තැන තැන දමා ගොස් ඇත්තේ හමුදා ප‍්‍රහාර හමුවේ කොටි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන් ඒවා දමා පලාගිය බැවිනි.

එල්ටීටීඊය විනාශකොට ඇති මේ භූමිය හා සම්පත් ප‍්‍රමාණය අතිවිශාලය.

ඒ 34 මාර්ගය දිගටම දැන් 59 සේනාංකය හා 3 වන කාර්යසාධක හමුදාව සිය මෙහෙයුම් කරගෙන යයි.

ප‍්‍රභාකරන් විසින් බලෙන් රඳවාගෙන සිටින පිරිස් සියලු දෙනාම ඔහුට පක්ෂපාතී නොවේ. මුලතිව් හා කිලිනොච්චි ප‍්‍රදේශවල මෙවර අ.පො.ස (සා.පෙල) විභාගය සඳහා අපේක්ෂකයින් 8000 කට වඩා ඉදිරිපත්ව සිටියහ. ආරක්ෂක බුද්ධි අංශ වලට අනුව ඔවුන් සියලු දෙනාටම සටන් පුහුණුව සඳහා පැමිණෙන්නැයි කොටි නායකත්වය අණකොට තිබේ. ප‍්‍රභාකරන්ගේ දරුවන් විදේශවල රජ සැප විඳිමින් ඉගෙන ගනිද්දී අනිකුත් ජනතාවගේ දරුවන්ට එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ. ය විමුක්තිය ලබාදෙන්නේ මෙසේ ය.

ඔහු විසින් බලෙන් සටනට බඳවා ගෙන සිටින්නවුන් මෙන් ම වන්නියේ වැසියන් ද එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ ග‍්‍රහණයෙන් මිදී ඔවුන්ට හොරෙන් හමුදා පාලන ප‍්‍රදේශවලට විත් හමුදාවට බාරවීමේ ප‍්‍රවණතාව දැන් වැඩි වී තිබේ.

දැන් ඔවුන් එන්නේ පිරිස් වශයෙනි. දියෙන් මෙන් ම ගොඩ බිමින් මහා වැසි මැද වනාන්තරය මැදින් සිය දිවි පරදුවට තබා ඔවුන් පැමිණෙන්නේ ප‍්‍රභාකරන් ගේ අඩවියේ සිටිනවාට වඩා මගදී අනතුරකින් මිය ගියත් එය ද සැපතකැයි සිතා ය.

මේ සතියේ ආරක්ෂක හමුදා සෙබළු අලිමංකඩට උතුරින් කිලාලි කළපුව ඔස්සේ එකම බෝට්ටුවක නැගී පලා ආ 29 දෙනෙකු බේරා ගත්හ.

සින්න පරන්තන් ජයග‍්‍රහණයෙන් පසු

පුනරින් සිට පරන්තන් දක්වා මුහුදු වෙරළේ රැකවල්ලා සිටින 59 සේනාංකයේ ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට මුහුදේ සුදු කොඩියක් දමාගෙන අනතුරුදායක ලෙස එන මේ බෝට්ටුව දර්ශනය විය. වහා එහි ගිය ආරක්ෂක හමුදා මේ පිරිස බේරා ගනිද්දි ඔවුහු හෙම්බත්ව සිටියහ. අතදරුවෙකු ගැබිණි මවක ඇතුළු මේ පිරිස පිටත්ව ඇත්තේ මධ්‍යම රාති‍්‍රයේ දී ය. ඒ අත දරුවන් නින්දට ගිය පසුවය. රාති‍්‍රය පුරා සීතලයේ ගැහෙමින් අනතුරුදායක ලෙස ඔවුන් එකම බෝට්ටුවක නැගී ආයේ සිය ජීවිත හා දරුවන් ප‍්‍රභාකරන් ගෙන් බේරා ගැනීමට වෙනත් ක‍්‍රමයක් ඇත්තේ ම නැති බැවිනි.

මෙවැනි තවත් දහස් ගණන් පිරිස් මුදාගත් ප‍්‍රදේශවලට ඒමට නොහැකිව ළතවෙන බව ඔවුහු කියා සිටියහ.

මේ අතර මෙතෙක් මුදාගත් ප‍්‍රදේශවලට ආ වැඩිම කණ්ඩායම ආයේ ඔඩ්ඩුසුඩාන් හරහා මහා වනාන්තරය මැදිනි. එම කණ්ඩායමේ 78 දෙනෙක් සිටියහ. එම කණ්ඩායම ද රාති‍්‍රයේ වනගත පාරවල් මැදින් සිය අඩුම කුඩුම ඔසවා ගෙන ආයේ අනාථයන් පරිදි ය.

තමන් සතු ගේ දොර හරකා බාන වතුපිටි ආදී සියලු වස්තුව අත්හැර දමා සිය දරුවන් හා සහෝදර සහෝදරියන් ප‍්‍රභාකරන් ගෙන් බේරා ගැනීමට ඔවුන් ආගමන ද ත‍්‍රාසජනක මෙන් ම භයානක එකකි.

එම පිරිසේ වයස අවුරුදු 2 ට අඩු කුඩා දරුවෝ දස දෙනෙක් සිටියහ.

ාස ගණනක් පුරා ප‍්‍රභාකරන් ගේ වධ හිංසා ඉවසාගෙන සිටි ඔවුන් පවසන කතා ඉතාම කනගාටුදායක ය.

ප‍්‍රභාකරන්ගේ ග‍්‍රහණයෙන් මිදී ඒමද ජීවිතයත් මරණයත් අතර තියුණු සටනකි. හසුවුණොත් ලැබෙන්නේ මරණය හෝ හිර ගෙදර හෝ දරුණු වධහිංසා ය.

ඔවුන්ගේ කණ්ඩායමට පසුව පැමිණි එකොළොස් දෙනෙකුගෙන් යුත් කණ්ඩායමක් ප‍්‍රභාකරන්ගේ වධකයන්ට හසු වී ඔවුන් ආපසු රැගෙන යන ලද බව පැවසේ.

4 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාව හා 59 සේනාංකයේ සෙබළුන් මෙහෙයුම් කරන ඉදිරි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ල වෙත සුදු කොඩි ඔසවාගෙන ආ ඔවුන් ඉදිරියට ගොස් කරුණාවෙන් පිළිගත් හමුදා නිලධාරීහු ඔවුන්ට අවශ්‍ය වෛද්‍ය පහසුකම් හා ආහාර පාන ජලය, ඇඳුම් පැලඳුම් දී සුබසාධන කඳවුරු වෙත පිටත් කළහ.

සිය දරුවන්ගේ අනාගතය සඳහා මෙසේ තමන් පැමිණි බව ඔවුහු කියා සිටියහ. එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ සිහින රාජ්‍ය නිසා තමන්ගේ දරුවන්ගේ අධ්‍යාපනය, සිය රැකියා පමණක් නොව තිබුණු සේසතම නැති වූ බව ද සිය ජනජීවිතය මුළුමනින් ම අවුල් වූ බව ද ඔවුහු පැවසූහ.

කිලිනොච්චි අල්ලා ගැනීමේ අවසන් සටනේ යෙදී සිටින 57 හා 58 වන සේනාංක හා 3 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාව කිලිනොච්චි ප‍්‍රධාන කොටි ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලෙන් ඉදිරියට යමින් ප‍්‍රහාර එල්ල කරද්දී මිය යන හා තුවාල ලබන සිය සගයන් ද රැගෙන කොටි ත‍්‍රස්තවාදීන් පසුපසට දිවයන අයුරු දැකිය හැකිවෙයි.

සටන දරුණු වූයේ මහ වර්ෂාවත් සමඟ ය. ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට මෝටාර් හා කාලතුවක්කු උණ්ඩ වර්ෂාවන්ට ද මුහුණ දෙන්නට සිදුවිය.

කිලිනොච්චියේ පළමු වන පස් බැම්ම ආරක්ෂක හමුදා විසින් දැන් බිද දමා අවසාන ය.

ගැටුම් වැඩියෙන් පවතින්නේ පරන්තන් බටහිර ප‍්‍රදේශයේ ය. එහි මෙහෙයුම් සිදු කරන 58 වන සේනාංකයේ 1 වන කාර්ය සාධක හමුදාව පරන්තන් සිට ඒ 35 මාර්ගයේ කිලෝමීටර් 6 ක් අල්ලාගෙන සිටී.

ඒ 35 මාර්ගයේ ද පිහිටි පාසල් ප‍්‍රාදේශීය ලේකම් කාර්යාල වැනි රජයේ ගොඩනැගිලි මෙන් ම පෞද්ගලික නිවාස බොහොමයක් ම එල්ටීටීඊයේ බංකර් යුද අගල් බවට පත්ව තිබේ.

කිලිනොච්චි නගරය දෙසට ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන් දැන් ඇදෙන්නේ අවසන් ‍ෙමහෙයුම සඳහා ය. කිලිනොච්චිය තමන්ට අහිමි වන බව දැන් කොටි සංවිධානය පිළිගෙන තිබේ.

බී.බී.සි වෙත කොටි දේශපාලන අංශ නායක නඩේසන් කියා ඇත්තේ කිලිනොච්චිය අහිමි වුවත් තමන්ට මුලතිව් රැක ගැනීමට හැකි බව ය. මුලින් ඔහු කියා සිටියේ කිලිනොච්චිය අල්ලා ගැනීමට ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට කිසිසේත් ඉඩ නොදෙන බවයි.

මේ අතර යාපනය අර්ධද්වීපයේ ප‍්‍රභාකරන්ට විරුද්ධව ප‍්‍රථම වතාවට දෙමළ ජනතාව වීදි බැස සිටිති.

සිංහ ධජ ඔසවාගෙන කයිතාඩි සිට චාවාකච්චේරි දක්වා පෙලපාලි යමින් ජනතාව පසුගිය 21 වෙනිදා දවල් මෙසේ උද්ඝෝෂණය කළහ.

ති‍්‍රරෝද රථ ලොරි වෑන් හා බස් රථවලින් පැමිණ 16000 ක් පමණ පිරිස් මෙසේ උද්ඝෝෂණය කළේ ප‍්‍රභාකරන් විසින් සිරකරගෙන ඉන්න සියලුම සිවිල් වැසියන් නිදහස් කොට රජයේ පාලන ප‍්‍රදේශවලට යවන ලෙස ය. ප‍්‍රභාකරන් විසින් ප‍්‍රාණ ඇපකරුවන් වශයෙන් තබාගෙන සිටින තම සහෝදර ජනතාව බේරාගැනීමට මෙසේ දෙමළ ජනතාව ඉදිරියට ඒම හොඳ ප‍්‍රවණතාවකි.

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Soldiers of the Task Force 04 were able to capture Nedunkerni in Mullaithiv district today (21st). Nedunkerni is of strategic importance as it’s one of the main townships located along road which connects Vavuniya and Mullaithiv. Troops have been laying siege to this town for 2 days and were able to take complete control of it by today morning.

Meanwhile the LTTE launched a large scale counterattack in northern front yesterday (20th). The counterattack originated from north of Iranamadu and it was evident that the LTTE had used it’s best cadres equipped with body armor and helmets. SLA units fought valiantly but had to abandon half a kilometer stretch of land (which was recently captured). Around 30 soldiers were killed in this incident. Confirmed LTTE casualty details are not available as of this moment. SLA have been expecting LTTE counterattacks from direction of Iranamadu. Despite these attacks, SLA operations are continuing in this area.

Meanwhile LTTE radio transmissions have revealed that two of their senior female sea tiger cadres had gone missing on the 19th, after the SLAF conducted an airstrike near the Nayaru lagoon. Both were regional leaders of the LTTE and were identified as Siran and Suhandini. The LTTE also lost a vessel used for arms transport last week.

(Defence Net)

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One of Murphy’s laws in combat states that no ops plan survived the initial contact. Nature of war is fundamentally uncertain and multiplicity of fog and friction is bound to hinder the execution of the battle plan. Carl Von Clausewitz christened this immutable nature of war as fog and friction, which ensures that the battle plan is the first casualty of the war.

Last week, fog and friction ruled the northern forward defence lines when 53 and 55 Divisions of the army fought a bloody battle ahead of their forward defence lines, just after the dawn of Tuesday. Troops who planned to storm the secondary defence lines of the Tigers were faced with the unexpected. Stormy rains and flooded marshlands meant a nightmare for evacuating the wounded. Then rains lashed. And when they took up assault positions, troops noticed that the initial estimates of the Tiger strength in the forward defence lines were seriously underestimated . There was a larger presence. One military division opted to abort the mission, while the other decided to fight, but only to pull back a few hours later, with a heavy toll.

Defence localities

At midnight Monday, the 53 and 55 Divisions deployed in the northern forward defence line in Muhamalai, Nagar Kovil and Killali broke ahead from there defence localities.

Troops of these two divisions on November 20 dislodged the Tigers from their primary forward defence line. On Monday, their mission was to capture Tiger positions were a mere 800 meters. Under the cover of darkness, troops sneaked ahead of their positions.

The 55 Division advanced west of the A 9 road while the 53 Division manoeuvered east of the A 9 road.

They crossed a flooded marshland, called Kadolana, filled with rain water. In addition to their personal weapons, some troops carried Palmyrah blocks ( thal kota) and sand filled sacks on their shoulders to make bunkers immediately after the capture of the enemy bunker line. The coordinates of these bunkers are marked in the LTTE’s grid maps, enabling it to shell these positions pin point, in case they fall to the troops. Therefore, troops are compelled to build new bunkers away from the original positions in order to avoid indirect fire from the Tigers. By 3 am , they took assault positions and were awaiting orders for the assault.

At this moment, the General Officer Commander of the 55 Division, Brigadier Prasanna Silva instructed his field commanders to visit the frontline and inspect the enemy build up. Brigadier Prasanna Silva was the former Brigade Commander of the Special Forces touted for the capture of Vakarai, the former Eastern enclave of the Tigers.

The field commanders noticed a more than expected presence of the Tigers holding bunker positions. Flooded terrain, they noted, would impede the evacuation of casualties. It was almost daybreak and the evacuation across open land would be hazardous in daylight.

By this time, four soldiers were wounded in fighting and one was dead. The 55 Division commanders decided against launching the attack. Troops decided to pull back to their original positions without major combat.

However, the 53 Division decided to go ahead of the attack. The General Officer Command, Brigadier Kamal Gunaratne was confident of the battle plan.
The 53 Division attacked the enemy position and heavy fighting flared up ahead of the forward defence lines east of the A 9 road. The Tigers put up stiff resistance. When casualties kept rising, the troops decided to pull back to their original positions. The withdrawal of 800 meters was a perilous march in daylight. Some military officers said the greater number of casualties occurred during the pull back. Many soldiers fell victim to enemy fire when they tried to salvage fallen comrades.

At the end of the deadly encounter, 26 soldiers were killed – including eight soldiers who were initially counted as missing in action. Eighty nine were wounded.

These figures include P3 injuries known as walking wounds. These are minor injuries where the injured could return to the battlefront in a few days time. Faced with enemy fire and stuck in flooded marshland, troops were compelled to leave the bodies of some fallen comrades. Later the LTTE announced it had recovered eight bodies of soldiers.

Treacherous battle

At 6 am on Tuesday morning, as a treacherous battle in the northern defence lines drawing to an end, the 57 and 58 Divisions attacked a well fortified L shaped earthbund built to halt military advance into the administrative headquarters of the Tigers, Kilinochchi.

This earth bund, 12 km in length, runs from the Jaffna lagoon in the north of the Pooneryn-Paranthan Road to the South of Iranamadu.
The 58 Division, formally known as Task Force One attacked the earth bund from the direction of the Pooneryn-Paranthan B 59 Road. The 57 division attacked it from the west of Kilinochchi.

Faced with stiff Tiger resistance and flooded waterways, the manoeuverability of the 58 Division was undermined. The troops aborted the mission. Meanwhile, sea Tigers launched boats in the Kilalli lagoon sending reinforcement for the Tigers fighting the 58 Division. Attack helicopters were called in to target Sea Tiger movements. No details of damage are available.
The 57 Division went ahead with the attack. Three Brigades were assigned for the mission.

The 571 Brigade attacked from the direction of Adampan village, capturing a stretch of the earth bund in the west of Kilinochchi.

The Nine Gajaba Regiment and the12 Singha regiment operating under the 571Brigade captured one km stretch of earth bund each while the Seven Ceylon Light Infantry captured an 800 m of the earth bund.
Troops and Tigers exchanged heavy artillery and a mortar dual and Air Force was called in for close air support. Fighter jets and attack helicopters raided Tiger positions. The 572 Division attacked the earth bund from the direction of Iranamadu, while the 574 Brigade attacked Tiger positions on the Iranamadu tank.

The Tigers launched wave after wave counter- attacks to recapture lost ground. The Twelve Singha Regiment was to receive the brunt of the attack. It came under eight counter attacks by Tigers during the day. The 12 SR was in control of a strategically important position with a short distance to Kilinochchi town.

The troops withstood the attacks. But as casualties were rising, they decided to pull back. By that time, 17 soldiers were killed and 15 others were unaccounted for.

During the fierce battle the valour of the troops was on display. During the initial attack, troops of the 12 SR captured 18 bunkers, but the Tigers put up fierce resistance from three bunkers. At this moment, the late Cpl Namal Udawatta who was killed in action recently ,volunteered to seize these three entrenched positions. He and his team succeeded in neutralizing the Tigers and capturing the three bunkers. Soon after the battle, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. The 572 brigade was also confronted by stiff resistance; they vacated a part of the earth bund, but held on to a 1 km long stretch. The 574 Brigade seized a 2.4 km long stretch on the earth bund in Iranamadu. Later in the day, the Tigers launched 12 counter attacks against the troops of this brigade, who withstood the waves after waves of Tiger counter attack. According to a military official, there had been 22 strong points in this 2.4 km long stretch. The Tigers had put up bunkers at every 100 meter distance.

Fighting which flared up in Kilinochchi is unmatched in ferocity, which is understood given that the battle has reached the doorstep of the de-facto headquarters of the Tigers. The Tigers mobilized their full strength, waging a series of counter attacks and finally succeeded in dislodging the troops from at least some positions initially captured by them. Adverse terrain conditions, aggravated by torrential rain stood against the troops.

According to a final toll, 80 soldiers were killed in fighting, this included the figures which were initially classified as missing in action. The pro-Tiger websites flashed pictures of slain soldiers, reporting that the Tigers had seized 36 bodies of soldiers, including eight seized from the Kilalli front. Evacuation of the dead became a problem as troops had to brave the waterways. Over 250 soldiers wounded, many of them had sustained P 3 injuries.

Military officials claim that at least 140 Tiger cadres were killed in the attack, including Adampan Tiger leader Nelawan.

Later in the week, the 58 Division was compelled to halt the march, having advanced 1 km on the B 69 Pooneryn-Paranthan Road, when heavy rains lashed and a marshland ahead of them began to overflow.
Meanwhile, troops attached to the 59 Division last week captured Mulliyaweli village, which was a few months back a major hub for Internationally Displaced Persons.

IDPs have fled further inland towards Pudikudirippu as fighting reached their settlements. The 59 Division has consolidated the control of the 6 km stretch of the A 34 Mankulam-Mullaitivu road. Troops have also taken control of the 10 km stretch of Oddusudan- Nedunkerny Road. With the latest posture by the security force, the Defence Ministry has proposed an alternative route for relief supplies heading for Mullaitivu.

Relief vehicles

Accordingly, relief vehicles are expected to take the route from Puliyankulam, Nedunkerny, Oddusudan and from there to Pudikudiruppu.

The military strategy is to isolate Mullaitivu, by cutting off supply routes and thereby forcing the Tigers to vacate the town. The strategy aims to force the Tigers towards Pudikudiruppu. How successful this strategy is could be seen in the coming months. Meanwhile, Task Force 3 last week captured the Ampakamam village in Mullaitivu.

Pitched battles last week are signs that the Wanni front is becoming bloodier as the battle for Kilinochchi itself comes closer. Dogged resistance put up by the Tigers is an indication that the LTTE would commit cadres to save Kilinochchi rather than keep them for future combat.

The heavily entrenched positions, adverse weather and terrain stand to the advantage of the defending Tigers . However, battles along trench lines as well as the northern forward defence lines last week were full of anecdotes of individual valour.

That itself is evidence that to the Sri Lankan Forces have come a full circle from mass desertions and low morale in the late nineties to near success now.

(Lakbima News)

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