The increasingly desperate situation facing the LTTE has again galvanized them to exert fresh pressure on New Delhi in that direction. Hence Tamil Nadu Chief Minister claiming that Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee would now come to Colombo to discuss a ceasefire arrangement. But up to yesterday there was no official intimation of any such high level visit from New Delhi
It is now truly a “do or die” situation for the LTTE with security Forces aiming for their vital points, namely Kilinochchi, Paranthan, Mulaitivu, and Elephant Pass, and they being forced to put everything at their disposal to protect those areas
Despite Islamic fanatics striking terror in Bombay late last month, blunting the attempts of Tiger proxies across the Palk Strait to force Indian intervention here once again on their behalf, the increasingly desperate situation facing the LTTE has again galvanized them to exert fresh pressure on New Delhi in that direction. Hence Tamil Nadu Chief Minister claiming that Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee would now come to Colombo to discuss a ceasefire arrangement. But up to yesterday there was no official intimation of any such high level visit from New Delhi
It is now truly a “do or die” situation for the LTTE with security Forces aiming for their vital points, namely Kilinochchi, Paranthan, Mulaitivu, and Elephant Pass, and they being forced to put everything at their disposal to protect those areas.
Therefore with the ceasing of rains from late last week, the fighting without doubt is bitter, with the LTTE unable to afford to let any of these areas fall to the Security Forces, as that would only expedite the fall of its few other remaining strongholds.
In this scenario, intelligence has stumbled on some intriguing information about four white skinned doctors serving in the Ponnambalam Government hospital in Mulaitivu. As no INGO workers are permitted to be in LTTE held areas, since all of them were ordered to relocate to Vavuniya in October, this piece of news is truly surprising.
Intelligence has also found that with the fall of Pooneryn, the Sea Tiger resources there has been shifted to Vettilaikerny and Thalladi, strengthening their positions in these two sea landing points on the northeastern coast.
Despite some heavy exchanges taking place in virtually all fronts this week, Security Forces notched up some notable successes. On the Northeastern coast, 11th Regiment of the Gemunu Watch coming under the 59th Division commanded by Brig. Nandana Udawatte, captured the Sea Tiger stronghold at Alampil with minimum of casualties on Thursday. They were supported by 14th Wijeba Infantry Regiment commanded by Maj. Vipul Weerakoon.
In this operation to take Alampil the 11th GW troops had been led from the front by their commander Lt. Col. Priyanka Fernando. Lt. Col. Fernando leading his men in battle brought them some unexpected bonanzas as they outflanked the LTTE defenders by cutting them off from much of their northern escape routes. This lightning strike forced the defenders to flee in a hurry mainly by sea, leaving behind some 130 fibreglass boats. Their departure had been very hasty, not leaving them any time even to destroy the boats that were left behind. The victorious troops also recovered 560 rounds of live ammunition, one motor cycle and one outboard motor from the area.
Tigers had not even attempted to truck the boats to Mulaitivu on the last remaining coastal road open to them apparently fearing ambushes.
The Seventh Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Col. Chaminda Lamahewa, which captured the Thunukkenikulam area are advancing towards Mulliyaweli. Also in the northeast the 59-1 Brigade took control of the strategically important Otiyamalai last Saturday. It was followed by the capture of the village of Periyakulkam, one kilometre west of Otiyamalai on Tuesday morning.
On the same day there were seven different confrontations between Tigers and troops of the 59 Division in the Andankulam area. Following these confrontations and the capture of six LTTE trenches, its troops recovered 65 anti-personnel mines, one RPG gun, one T-81 weapon and one 40mm grenade launcher.
This week saw Maj Gen Jagath Dias returning to command the 57 Division spearheading the drive to capture Kilinochchi. Under his command the 57-4 Brigade headed by Lt. Col. Senaka Wijesuriya liberated the entire Kokavil area after heavy fighting last Sunday evening, and since then took control of the entire stretch of the A-9 Highway from Mankulam to Kokavil.
Meanwhile the Eighth Light Infantry and the Tenth Light Infantry coming under the same Brigade captured the west bank of the Iranamadu tank.
As the 57-4 Brigade advanced its positions by some five kilometers, the 63-2 Brigade coming under Task Force 111 advanced from Pannikulam Forest covering a distance of four kilometers and linked up with 57-4 Brigade at Iranamadu Tank.
The Task Force 111 under the command of Brig. Sathyapriya Liyanage also captured the Pulipanvikulam village and was advancing towards the old Kandy Road.
With the LTTE losing its hold on the A-9 the Tigers have begun building a bunker line to cover the old Kandy Road. But troops are now poised to take this old road as well, thus depriving another major supply route to the terrorist organisation.
This week also saw the fall of Mannakulam village to the troops of Task Force 11 under the command of Brig. Rohana Bandara. During the Jayasikuru Operation, Commando Major Jayanath Ginimellage and his men of the Second Commando Regiment fought the Tigers till their very end at this village.
Puliyankulam too fell into the hands of Task Force 11. It is a key junction on the A-9. The old Kandy Road leading to Nedunkerny begins here. This town also served as the headquarters of the Tiger tax collection division on the A-9. Troops advancing from here were in the process of capturing Kanagarayankulam yesterday.
With the troops completing the recapture of A-9 from Kokavil to Omanthai, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka visited the area on Wednesday. During the Jayasikuru Operation that lasted three years the Army could not advance beyond Mankulam, but now within a short span of time the present Commander has ensured the Army’s advance beyond that point.
His secret of success appears to be that each unit is given one task at a time per week, and there is no chance of any secrets leaking in advance to the enemy as all operational plans are in his head and he knows the Northern terrains like the back of his hand.
New attack force
Meanwhile Deputy Commander of 59 Division Col. Nishantha Wanniarachchi has been appointed to command the new fighting unit designated Task Force 1V scheduled to enter battle in Wanni soon. Military Secretary Maj. Gen. Deepal Alwis issued orders on Monday under his signature, also appointing Lt. Col. Priyantha Wijegunawardena as the Colonel General Staff of this force. Similarly two Brigades coming under this Force 64-1 and 64-2 were placed under the command of Lt. Col. Jayampathy Bandara and Lt. Col. Randula Hathnagoda.Smuggle
With the entire West coast from Mannar to Jaffna being under the Army, only the north eastern coast is left for the LTTE to smuggle in desperately needed arms to replenish those now fast depleting. Troops are still being hit with artillery and mortars it had earlier managed to smuggle in.
In the past two and a half years that the Forces have fought the Eelam War 1V, 14,000 soldiers have been wounded. According to army headquarters statistics 12,000 of them were injured as a result of mortar and artillery attacks.
Lt. Gen Fonseka points out that the victories won by his men were no flukes, but achieved through much bravery and sacrifice.