What would be the next move of the LTTE once their enclaves in the Vanni are surrounded by the Security Forces? This is the most pertinent question lingering in the minds of many people who are keenly following the developments in the Vanni battlefront at present.
Many are of the opinion that Tiger leader will flee the country once his hideouts in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu are under threat.
Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda in a recent television interview said that the Army will not allow such a thing to be happen considering the huge military pressure they are exerting on the LTTE with the deployment of huge number of troops.
Even if the Tiger leader gets a chance to escape from the Vanni, Navy is ready to capture him in the sea if he opted to flee the country by sea, the Navy Commander asserted.
Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Gunatilleka also in his recent media interviews said that Air Force is ready to destroy Prabhakaran at the first opportunity they get to bomb his hideout.
It is a realistic statement considering the way the SLAF has improved its strike capabilities in the past two and half years, effectively targeting many Tiger hideouts and taking many high profile targets.
The way the SLAF pilots bombed the hideout of LTTE Political Wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan in 2007 was a classic example. A post mortem conducted on that air raid has revealed that the bomb has been dropped exactly on the room Thamilselvan was operating.
The SLAF had taken many high profile targets within the past two year period, and Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran would have escaped his death within a split second when Air Force fighter jets raided number of his hideouts with very precise and accurate targeting.
Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka says that Prabhakaran will either escape from the country to join with other terror groups operating in the world or would bite his cyanide capsule once he feels that there is no escape for him. The real threat to his life would emerge with the opening of few more battle fronts for the final stage of Vanni liberation operation which is to be launched very soon.
The LTTE is refusing to see reason and is putting up a futile resistance to the advance of the security forces. With the aim of delaying their final defeat they are engaged in confronting the security forces in different locations so as to compel them to thinly spread out its forces in a wider area. For example, it has resorted to hit and run tactics and sporadic killings in the East which has been now fully liberated.
Their aim was to destabilize the normal life and also the political co-existence in the Eastern province by inducting these Tiger cadres among the TMVP members. The TMVP members have been very shrewdly misled by Vanni cadres after expressing their eagerness to join mainstream politics along with the TMVP members.
Many incidents were reported from the Eastern province within the past few months in which many TMVP members were assassinated by the LTTE cadres who had infiltrated into TMVP offices in the guise of joining political work after deserting the Tiger outfit. Strict instructions have been given to the TMVP members, by the intelligence officials not to accept any Tiger surrendees to the TMVP.
The LTTE is also targeting Batticaloa and Ampara districts to target the Security Forces, Police and STF personnel who are maintaining strict security measures in the East. That was why the LTTE has sent a 22 member team led by Nagulan to the East recently.
This team managed to launch a number of claymore attacks targeting the Security Forces operating in the Thoppigala jungles and some STF personnel operating in the Ampara district. It has been learnt that it is the same team that created panic inside the Yala National Park and adjoining villages some time ago.
A team of Commandoes were airlifted to the East very recently to conduct search operations to nab these Tiger cadres operating inside Thoppigala and Kanchikudichchuaru jungles.
Last Monday the Commando troops operating in Bakmitiyawa in the border of Ampara and Batticaloa districts detected and fired at the Tiger group.
They managed to kill four Tiger cadres and inflict injuries to seven Tiger cadres including Nagulan the leader of this team. The injured cadres and the others have managed to escape towards another section of the jungle amidst the firing of the troops. Search operations are still on in Batticaloa and Ampara districts to nab these Tiger cadres since it would be one of the key factors towards ensuring a healthy security situation.
The main factor worrying the LTTE is the formation of new battle fronts in the Vanni. The formation of new Task Forces, the Task Force IV under the command of Colonel Nishantha Wanniarachchi which is expected to commence its operation at the end of this month from the Mullaitivu front and the Task Force V to be formed under the Command of Colonel Galagamage has s sent shivers down the spine of the LTTE which has been badly hit by its depleting strength.
Therefore, the Tiger outfit is trying their best to stop formation of new battalions in the Army and also to avoid deploying them into the Vanni front.
The LTTE is also trying their best to scuttle the successful recruitment drive of the Sri Lanka Army, the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Air Force. They are aware that it was due to this successful recruitment drive the Army has been able to induct more infantry battalions to the Vanni battlefront.
The Sri Lanka Army has recruited soldiers at an average of 3,500 per month enabling to increase its strength to more than 168,000 as of now. Following the Pooneryn victory the youth enrollment in the Army increased in the month of November, with 3,900 joining.
The Government has given approval to increase the strength of the Army up to 200,000 to with the aim of making the military victories they have achieved sustainable.
The LTTE is aware that there is no survival for them even to continue insurgency level terror operations if Army is successful in their effort to increase its strength.
A subtle campaign is now on to scuttle the very root of the successful recruitment drive by spreading wild rumours about the casualty rate and the number of Security Forces personnel killed in the battlefronts.
The pro-LTTE media along with the disgruntled politicians in the South are trying their best to target the recruitment drive of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. Disgruntled political elements are dancing to the tune of the LTTE by making derogatory statements about military victories.
It is patently clear as of now who are the political leaders who are dancing to the tune of the LTTE and the real objective behind these derogatory remarks. But due to the strong backing of the common masses thousands of youth are still willing to join the Forces amidst all these false and vicious campaigns.
Whilst all these military and political maneuverings by the LTTE are in effect to avoid certain defeat in the Vanni, the LTTE faced a severe blow in their effort to bring Indian Government intervention to the Sri Lankan situation at a time they are facing a severe pressure from the Security Forces.The Central Government has given a strong message to LTTE sympathizers with the Quit Order issued on Tamil National Alliance MP M.K. Sivajilingam to leave India within 72 hours voluntarily or to face deportation..
These orders from the Indian Government came hours after the Indian Prime Minister making his winding up speech at the Lok Sabha on the debate on terror attack on Mumbai endorsing the words of President Mahinda Rajapaksa¢s observations at the 15 th SAARC summit in Colombo that ¡there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists¢. Therefore, it is expected that the efforts of the Security Forces to defeat LTTE terrorism in the Vanni would not become a subject of discussion for the Indian Government as long as Security Forces continue their humanitarian operations with the objective defeating terrorism whilst restoring democratic rights of the Tamil civilians.The Security Forces engaged in the Vanni liberation operations are now preparing to launch the final assault on both Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu stronghold of the LTTE. They are now in the process of opening the gates to these two strongholds speedily advancing to outer perimeters of the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu towns. It was on Wednesday that the 57 Division captured the Therumurikandy, the strategically important junction that links the Mannar Pooneryn A-32 road and the Jaffna Kandy A-9 road.
The 574 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Senaka Wijesuriya was able to capture this strategically important junction after making a surprise move as the 571 Brigade under the command of Colonel G.V. Ravipriya launched an assault on the Tiger earth bund covering the Kilinochchi town. Heavy fighting erupted on Tuesday and Wednesday as troops made efforts to capture the earth bund ahead of the Kilinochchi town but troops of the 574 Brigade were able to cut off the Therumurikandy junction after inducting troops that advanced from Akkarayankulam to the North of Therumurikandy junction.After two days of fighting, troops took full control of the Therumurikandi area, and advanced further closer towards Iranamadu junction where LTTE is having its next barrier covering the Kilinochchi town.
The capture of Therumurikandy junction was important for the evacuation of casualties towards Vavuniya, from the Kilinochchi battlefront since it was the only stretch of the Nachchikuda Akkarayan road to be linked to the A-9 road.
It was after this operation the pro-LTTE Tamilnet website declared that 90 soldiers were killed during this operation. However, ground troops confirmed that only 12 soldiers killed and 11 others went missing during the counter attack by the LTTE in Adampan area.As the 57 Division under the command of Major General Jagath Dias is reaching towards the final barrier which barred them entering into Kilinochchi town the 59 Division under the command of Brigadier Nandana Udawatta also reached closer to LTTE¢s Mullaitivu stronghold with the a speedy advance across the build up areas in the South of Mullaitivu.
They are now operating seven and half Kilometers south of Muallaitivu at present and are poised to launch their final assault on Mullaitivu parallel to the ongoing operations to capture Kilinochchi, the de-facto administrative capital of the LTTE enabling the Security Forces to secure twin victories simultaneously.