Civilians have started arriving in their thousands by today. 522 civilians came yesterday and 2000 civilians had arrived by this evening. 25-30 LTTE cadres, who abandoned the movement, were also among them. This was the largest number of civilians to have returned to date and indicates the LTTE is really crumbling.
The 30-man Tiger team, which breached the 59 defenceline few days ago was completely annihilated along with several other Tiger teams in the general area Mulaitivu by a combined Special Forces, Commando and SLAF Mi-24 mission. The Tiger team from Ratha regiment, commanded from afar by Theepan had got more than they had bargained for. Although successful initially in firing a few RPGs at an Army Bus, Tractor with trailer and 2 tanks, the Tigers were systematically surrounded and picked off by the superior SF and CR teams.
Meanwhile Brigadier Prasanna Silva’s 55 Division has finally entered Chalai. The declaration of the capture will be made within 24hrs as Sea Tigers putting up stiff resistance to guard its last entry-point into the sea were finding it extremely difficult to fight on due to the unconventional tactics employed by the veteran Special Forces officer and his junior commanders.
55 division units move into Challai
Troops from the Sri Lanka Army’s 55 division moved into Challai yesterday (27th) evening. Challai LTTE defences (located south of Chundikulam) were breached in several places in the advance. SLA have not officially declared this area captured yet as search operations are still continuing. The large number of land mines and booby traps placed by the tigers have considerably slowed down clearing ops. Capture of Challai is significant to the army as it’s home to one of the last remaining naval bases of the LTTE. 55 division is commanded by Brigadier Prasanna Silva, a former Special Forces commander who chased LTTE out of Vakarai back in 2007.
Military intelligence (MI) earlier received information that LTTE had hidden its light aircraft in Challai region. So far however, no traces of such aircraft have been found.
Meanwhile a large group of civilians fleeing into government controlled territory were attacked by LTTE yesterday morning. MI estimates the number of deaths to exceed 20 in this incident alone.
Troops of the 55 division have breached the 3rd and final LTTE defence line at Challai and have advanced into LTTE’s last remaining major sea tiger base. Fighting has been going on this area ever since SLA units breached LTTE’s second ‘earth bund’ about a week ago. Soldiers of the 7 VIR (Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment) attached to 55 division today overran the 3rd and final earth bund at Challai and moved further into LTTE held territory. Heaviest fighting in this area was reported in the past two days, specially during the night. The bund captured today and the one captured last week were located about 2km apart from each other.
According to military intelligence, several senior sea tiger wing members have perished in Challai fighting. A deputy sea tiger leader identified as Vinayagam, a sea tiger special commander identified as Kannan and several other regional leaders are said to be killed in yesterday and today’s fighting.