President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday gave 48 hours commencing from Friday morning, for the LTTE to allow free movement of the civilians entrapped in the Tiger controlled areas in Mullaitivu assuring the civilians a safe passage and also of their welfare once they reached Government controlled areas.
Despite, this repeated request by the President, there was no positive response from the LTTE towards it even by yesterday noon giving a clear message that they are not going to see the end of this battle leaving the innocent civilians out the theatre of war now being fought in the Mullaitivu district.
Only a handful of civilians were able to flee the Tiger grip after President Rajapaksa’s request. The same appeal was made by the UN Secretary General to the LTTE. It also came from many leaders across the globe and organisations committed to protect human rights of the civilians entrapped in war zones.The neighbouring Indian Government and many political leaders too expressed their concern about the plight of the civilians entrapped in Mullaitivu has made as they were aware of the safety measures the Government and the Security Forces so far has taken to see that the civilians are not affected from the battle. It is now clear that the LTTE is not going to heed any of the humanitarian appeals by any democratic leader in the world at this moment. The international community should realise the fact that it was due to the pressures from the LTTE the civilians cannot reach the safer areas.
The urgent request to the LTTE, by the President was made at a time the Security Forces were reaching towards the zones declared for civilians safety and all battle formations were encircling the remaining areas held by the LTTE.
However sensitive civilian safety is there is no possibility for any Government to guarantee the safety when they are under the clutches of a ruthless terror outfit.
There is no guarantee that the LTTE would not resort to any desperate act endangering the lives of more than 150,000 entrapped there once its leader Prabhakaran is going to lose his two and half decade long battle against the Sri Lankan state.
They very explicitly displayed its ruthlessness, once again last Saturday after they exploded the massive Kalmadukulam tank bund with the intention of creating a massive destruction to the Security Forces ignoring the presence of the thousands of civilians living there.
But their terror plans were effectively foiled by the Security Forces smoothly reacting to the situation created after the explosion of the Kalmadukulam tank bund.
The intention of the LTTE, according to military officials who had intercepted the radio communications of the LTTE prior to this incident, was to starve the troops of their arms and ammunition once they were cut off from their bases.
Thousands of soldiers attached to the 58 Division and the 57 Division operating in Vishuamadu North and Vishuamadu South were cut off by huge waters that engulfed the area with the blast of the tank bund around 9.30 am on last Saturday.
As this huge quantity of water flowed through Nethal Aru that flows to the sea from the Vishuamadu North area, soldiers climbed on tree tops and other high grounds in Vishuamadu and Tharmapuram areas to save their lives. Some of them had miraculous escapes but many were prepared to the occasion as they have received the message about it minutes before the waters reached them.
The Tiger plan is now obvious. They had exploded this huge Tank bund with the objective of destroying large number of soldiers and also capturing them alive after their ammunition stocks are over after.
As troops had received an indication of what LTTE was going to do they were prepared to face that situation effectively putting all terror plans in drains.
They could not capture any soldier alive despite their propaganda across the globe spread the false news that 700 soldiers were captured alive after this incident.
But this is not the only plan the Security Forces have foiled during the last week. If not for the vigilance of the Security Forces the LTTE would have been able to blast the massive Iranamadu tank too creating a massive destruction in Kilinochchi and upto Elephant Pass and Pooneryn.
The troops operating in Iranamadu tank were able to avert this tragedy this week after they arrested two Tiger cadres who had been sent to Iranamadu area to accomplish the task of exploding the Irnamadu tank bund.
Vigilant troops operating there in Iranamadu had captured two Tiger cadres who had arrived close to Iranamadu tank bund along with four claymore mines weighing more than 100 Kg. They have moved into the area from Puthukuduiruppu area across the jungle terrain where Task Force III is now operating South of A-35 road.
According to the military, the arrested Tiger cadres have been trained to swim 10 Km non stop prior to sending on this mission. They have been given such training as Irnamadu tank expands for more than 17 square kilometres and if they want to blast the tank bund they have to swim along with their explosives more than 10 Km straight to avoid the troops operating there.
The troops who were on vigilance after the explosion of the Kalmadukulam tank had observed these two Tiger cadres close to tank bund as they were throwing hand grenades into the tank to avoid any Tiger infiltrations.
The two Tiger cadres have also left another 100 Kg of claymore bombs which were taken with them to accomplice this target halfway as they had to pass long way to reach the tank bund avoiding troops.
If they were not detected by the troops they would have created the biggest tragedy in Sri Lanka at least killing 5,000 people as the quantity of water in the Iranamadu tank is capable of inundating an area upto Jaffna.So the vigilant troops have avoided that human tragedy also neutralizing yet another terror plan to take upper hand in the current context of the war.
These facts prove beyond any doubt that the LTTE is willing to do any act of terror to reach their terror objectives. The presence of the civilians under their arrest provides them strength in accomplishing these terror plans as they have not shown an iota of respect for humanity at this stage though their media machinery talks highly about the plight of the civilians.
What they really want is to let these civilians starve, wounded or dead in battle. Then only they can take maximum advantage out of them. Otherwise they would use these civilians as slaves to be deployed to the war front as they are deploying their last batches of cadres to the battle front at this stage.
Therefore, civilian factor will rein in the next few days in the Northern battle front as Security Forces are above to get contact with the civilians within the next 48 hours if the LTTE is not allowing them to reach to safer areas.
Negotiations were going on by yesterday noon by the ground troops as 58 Division and the 57 Division were completing their mission of capturing entire Vishuamadu area by yesterday noon.
The 58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva whose troops were operating in the North of A-35 road were operating just two Kilometres short of reaching Chalai coast where the LTTE is having its last Sea Tiger base.
Over the past few weeks the 58 Division had a steady progress in battle after they captured Tharmapuram after advancing 17 Km on the Paranthan, Mullaitivu A-35 road.
The 58 Division is facing stiff resistance from the LTTE as they are advancing into the most sensitive area where they are having their prestigious assets along with their top leaders.
During the past few weeks the troops operating South of A-35 road came across many Tiger installations including their training bases, armouries and fuel dumps. This is a clear indication that they were using the jungle terrain between Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu to place many of their assets. They have chosen this area as they have not been touched by the Security Forces during any military operation.
The Task Force II under the command of Brigadier Rohana Bandara, Task Force III under the command of Brigadier Satyapriya Liyanage and Task Force IV under the command of Colonel Nishantha Wanniarachchi are heading in a South to North direction capturing all these assets of the LTTE.
Exposure of these assets very clearly indicates the fact that LTTE had not used a single cent for the welfare of the Tamil community though they claimed that they were the sole representative of the Tamil community.
As troops are moving fast towards the A-35 road from the southern direction the 59 Division which was able to capture Tiger stronghold Mullaitivu last Sunday in one of their surprise moves, are now poised hot capture the other biggest town Puthukuduiruppu in the Mullaitivu district.
At present Visuamadu and Puthukuduoruppu are the nerve centres of the LTTE battle against the Security Forces now going on in Mullaitivu district.
The fall of Mullaitivu has put the LTTE in one of the most desperate situations as they never expected such a blow at this juncture.The 59 Division under the command of Brigadier Nanadan Udawatta had their plans in hands to capture Mullaitivu town by January 22. By January 22 the 59 Division had moved up to Puthukuduiruppu South from the West of Nanthikadal lagoon.
But, the 591 Brigade was struck South of Mullaitivu on the Alampil-Mulaitivu road for the past one month due to earth bunds. Many attempts made by the 59 Division on several occasions since December 26 had to be abandoned due to heavy casualties reported during fierce battles that erupted in this stretch.
Therefore, the 593 Brigade under the command of Colonel Jayantha Gunaratne, who were operating in the West of Nanthikadal lagoon were given the task of capturing the earth bund. The 7 Gemunu Watch battalion commanded by Lt. Colonel Chaminda Lamahewa was given the task of capturing the earth bund South of Mulaitivu before initiating the master plan to capture Mulaitivu town.He took the task effectively with the support of the 591 Brigade under the command of Colonel Aruna Ariyasinghe by Friday morning. During this battle, the LTTE lost control of the strongly held earth bund South of Mulaitivu. Only five soldiers sustained injuries during this battle. It was a comparatively negligible number compared to the number of casualties among the troops on earlier occasions.It was a major breakthrough for the 59 Division which was striving to capture key Mulaitivu stronghold from the LTTE.The second part of the operation was planned for January 24 Saturday night.
The 593 Brigade Commander Colonel Jayantha Gunaratne took the initiative to prepare the plan to capture Mulaitivu town. They were aware that LTTE was strongly holding the town with a large number of their cadres inducted into the town.
Therefore, all plans were set to capture the town in a surprise move.
The three battalions under the command of the Colonel Jayantha Gunaratne, 15 Sri Lanka Light Infantry Battalion under the command of Major Sujeewa Hettiarachchi, 12 SLLI under the command of Major Wasantha Perera and 7 Gemunu Watch Battalion under the command of Lt. Colonel Chaminda Lamahewa were given different tasks.The 15 SLLI was asked to move into the town from the West of Mankulam-Mulaitivu road whilst 12 SLII was asked to move into the Mulaitivu town from East of Alampil Mulaitivu road in the early hours of Sunday morning.
While the LTTE put up a big resistance to the troops advancing from the two directions, the 7 Gemunu Watch battalion reached the centre of the town from the Eastern edge of the Nanthikadal lagoon.
As the LTTE was confronting with the troops in the centre of Mulaitivu town, they observed a sudden fire from the rear side of the Mulaitivu town.
The LTTE cadres were baffled by this situation. Actually it was the surprise move made by the 7 Gemunu Watch battalion to trap the LTTE in the centre. They took the first initiative on Saturday night. The Alpha Company under the command of Captain Premachandra had taken initiative to induct his troops inside the Mulaitivu town.
The troops who were operating close to the famous Vatrapalai Amman Hindu Temple crossed the Nanthikadal lagoon under the cover of thick darkness on Saturday night. Sergeant Navaratne, Corporal Chandrasiri, Lance Corporal Sarath Nanda Kumara and Corporal Chaminda Perera were the first to cross the Nanthikadal lagoon in neck deep water and move into the town.
A number of soldiers crossed the lagoon and lay ambush inside the town until the troops of the 12 and 15 SLLI troops reached the centre of the town although they observed many Tiger movements inside the town. It was around 9.30 a.m. on Sunday when they started firing at the LTTE cadres compelling them to flee Mulaitivu town by sea.
It was around 1.00 p.m. the 593 Brigade troops secured the Mulaitivu town with 15 SLLI troops and taking control of the Eastern edge of the Nanthikadal lagoon West of Mulaitivu town whilst 12 SLLI troops took control of the beach front of the Mulaitivu town. The 7 Gemunu Watch battalion was deployed in the Northern tip of the Mulaitivu town.
Even after 1 p.m. on Sunday after the news about the capture of Mulaitivu hit the streets in Colombo troops conducted search operations to flush out the Tiger cadres who were trying their best to launch counter attacks and recapture the lost terrain.
As the 593 Brigade taking control of the Mulaitivu town, the 591 Brigade under the command of Colonel Aruna Ariyasinghe held the beach front of Mullaitivu South. Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka announced the victory of Mullaitivu after all these measures were taken by the 59 Division.
As Security Force have achieved all these victories fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the entire nation, they are eagerly awaiting the liberation of the remaining areas under Tiger control very soon with the hope of celebrating Independence with much grandeur.