Velupillai Prabhakaran and rest of the Terrorists are under siege.
Sri Lanka Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka said that, “Velupillai Prabhakaran and the rest of the tiger terrorists are under siege, and in the throes of death from my troops.”
In the meantime Sri Lanka Army’s 59 Division commanded by Brigadier Prasanna Silva made a tactical move under the direction of the Army Commander.
On Tuesday, the 59 Division troops advanced from the south of the newly demarcated ‘No Fire Zone’ along the coastline, into the areas south of Vellamullivaikkal.
The 593 Brigade commanded by Lt. Colonel Sujeeva Yapa with three battalions under his command, 11 (GR) commanded by Major W.M.D.S. Gunawardane, 4 (SR) Sinha Regiment commanded by Major I.K. Lokukatagoda, 16 (SLLI) commanded by Major B.J. Lekamge, on Monday night, surmounted the earth bund put up by the LTTE, and crossed into the newly demarcated ‘No Fire Zone’ across the Nanthikadal lagoon.
The initial forward military thrust was followed by the induction of Special Forces, resulting in a rapid wipe-out of the remaining terrorist resistance in the area.
Troops have brought around 500 metres of the LTTE built earth bund under their control. While troops were breaching the bund, the LTTE had deployed five suicide cadres in its attempt to resist the troop’s advance. Troops of the 59 Division successfully drew in the suicide cadres, and thwarted their attempts to inflict damage. 59 Division troops had reached the Vellamullivaikkal area in Sarwaruthodda, where the LTTE was located when this column was being sent into print.
The ground advances are made in a steady phase with total consideration of avoiding civilian casualties, while ensuring safe passage from the LTTE Terrorist clutches
The 59 Division is advancing on the NFZ on a south to north direction, and the 53 and 58 Divisions are advancing on a north to south direction. As these Divisions draw closer, the LTTE leader and his remaining cadres will be obviously sandwiched in the thin sliver of land area that makes the new ‘No Fire Zone’.
The Sri Lanka Army’s 58 Division commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva, his deputy General Officer Command Col. Siraj Bangsajayah, along with the two Brigades, 582 under Col. Sanjaya Wanigasinghe and 581 under Col. Deshapriya Gunwardene, are adopting ever changing battle tactics under the instruction of the Army Commander.
Sri Lanka Army 53 Division is commanded by Major General Kamal Gunarathne Task Force 8 Commander Colonel G.V. Ravipriya and Air Mobile Brigade Commander Lt Colonel Thilak Sangalipola. These ground commanders are adopting ever changing battle tactics under instructions of the Army Commander.
The concept of this battle is always the change of the advancing battalions. This change is being adopted due to the prevailing conditions in weather as well as the ground in open terrain, but always aimed at reducing the stress on the advancing troops and officers.
Last Friday (May 8), commander of the 6 Gemunu Watch (GW) deployed his Special Infantry troops to sneak behind enemy lines, and using their Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers (RPGs) destroy several bulldozers and backhoes that were being used by the LTTE to put up earth bunds to slow down the military advance. Troops, while being provided effective cover, successfully accomplished their mission. This was a major breakthrough for the troops in their advance.
Army Commander takes flight to Vavuniya
On Saturday May 9, Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka, accompanied by high ranking officers from military headquarters, visited the Vavuniya Security Forces Headquarters. He was received at the Vavuniya air base by Vavuniya Security Forces commander Major General Jagath Jayasuriya. Subsequently Maj. Gen. Jayasuriya briefed the Army Commander on the current situation and thereafter 53 Division head Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne and 58 Div. Commander Brig. Shavendra Silva in turn briefed the Army Commander.
During their briefings, the Division Commanders indicated that their troops had successfully demolished the Tiger earth bunds. Thereafter the Army Commander instructed his ground commanders not to use any heavy weapons, to minimise casualties of troops, and advance further south towards the newly re-demarcated ‘No Fire Zone’ (NFZ) in a practical manner, and rescue civilians from LTTE hostage.
Lt. General Sarath Fonseka also instructed Commando Brigade Commander Col. Ralph Nugera and Special Forces (SF) Brigade Commander Col. Athula Kodippili to retain their elite forces as a reserve, while deploying LRRP teams to hunt down any Tiger infiltrators. As a result, the SF personnel were able to track down and kill five infiltrators at Mullaitivu. The operation is still underway. Meanwhile, two groups of elite SF are at the ready to be deployed at short notice.
After the destruction of the Tigers’ heavy earth moving equipment by the 6 GW led by Lt. Col Kamal Pinnawela, troops were more comfortable in their advance. But the entire area of the NFZ is open terrain, making them sitting ducks for the LTTE. Hence, operations are mostly carried out during the night, while during day time troops of 53 and 58 Division only observe and identify Tiger movements, also helped by the Sri Lanka Air Force deployed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
LTTE’s military spokesman silenced
Irasiah Punitharooban alias Ilanthirayan death published by Pro LTTE website
The LTTE’s military spokesman, 43-year-old Irasiah Punitharooban alias Ilanthirayan, also known as Marshall, was a senior member of the LTTE from the Batticaloa district. He earlier served for several years at the LTTE headquarters in the Vanni, prior to his appointment in charge of project planning for post tsunami reconstruction in the eastern region by the then political head S.P. Thamilselvan. Later, following Kaushalyan’s assassination, he was appointed the LTTE’s Batticaloa district political head before his latest position as LTTE’s military spokesman.
While still being the Tiger spokesman, he also commanded the recent battles in the Mannar region. Thereafter, Tiger chief V. Prabhakaran appointed ex-policeman B. Nadesan and Puleethevan as spokesmen. While deployed at the battlefront, Ilanthirayan’s main duties centered around Vellamullivaikkal. On Sunday, May 10 mornings, he arrived near the Vellamullivaikkal/Karayamullivaikkal Tiger forward defence lines, escorted by his bodyguards. He had come on an inspection tour; little realising that death was also following him closely. While Ilanthirayan was inspecting and issuing instructions to his cadres, from the other end in Sri Lanka Army controlled area, he was being keenly observed through powerful telescopes by experienced marksmen, an army sniper and his assistant.
Ilanthirayan, who was frequently talking over his I-Com radio set, was being covered by his bodyguards, and the Army sniper couldn’t get a clear view of his target. The Army sniper, incidentally deployed only during daytime, waited patiently for around one-and-a-half hours, to get a clear shot at his target. At last he got an opportunity, when Ilanthirayan was visible through his telescope. At once the Army sniper pressed the trigger of his rifle, and the next moment he saw Ilanthirayan fall. Taken unawares, the bodyguards opened fire at the direction from which the shot originated, but the Army marksman was able to pick seven more targets, and a number of Ilanthirayan’s bodyguards were eliminated.
The sniper, asset to Sri Lanka Army, nation
The sniper marksmen are a crucial asset to the Security Forces. Currently they directly report to their training school at Diyatalawa, under the command of Lt. Col. Sanjaya Wanasinghe, who is the son of retired Army Commander General Hamilton Wanasinghe. During this Eelam War IV, so far the military snipers have taken 1000 accurate targets. The are deployed with the offensive divisions, which is the 53, 59 and 58 Divisions and the Task Forces. Division Commanders told this columnist that the snipers perform wonders on the battlefield.
Will these snipers be also fortunate to get their prime target, Velupillai Prabhakaran?
Eelam War IV at tail end
On Monday May 11, the Sri Lanka Army’s 53 and 58 Divisions were able to capture the entire Karayamulivaikkal area. And as you are reading this column, Troops from 53 Division and 58 Division are entering Vellamullivaikkal, from the 58 Division, the 9 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (9VIR) under Lt. Col. Sisira Herath, gave the flank support along the coastal side, while the 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (11 SLLI) under Lt. Col. Kithsiri Ekanayake advanced with his troops from the lagoon side. The middle stretch of the sliver of land area in between, was left for the 9 Gemunu Watch (9GW) under Lt. Col. Lal Chandrasiri. The 10 Gemunu Watch (10GW) under Lt. Col. Lal Chandrasena was advancing from west of the A-35 Paranthan-Mullaitivu road.
53 Division Command by Major General Kamal Gunarathne, under his command Air Mobile Brigade Commander Lt Colonel Thilak Sangalipola and 5 GW Commanded by Lt Colonel Rohan Palayangoda with the highly regarded Air Mobile Division and 6(GR) Lt Colonel Mohan Rathnayake were advancing from south of the A-35 Paranthan-Mullaitivu road towards to south
LTTE’s pedal guns and hostage civilians
It was learnt that when Sri Lanka Army troops were moving into the newly demarcated NFZ, the LTTE had forcibly herded the remaining civilians towards the Vellamullivaikkal side. Meanwhile, on Monday, the advancing 9VIR troops were able to sneak behind enemy lines and capture an anti-aircraft gun with dual barrels. At almost the same time, the 5VIR too were able to capture another similar gun. These guns, operated by means of pedals and hence called ‘Pedal Guns,’ are a lethal weapon. Usually used against flying craft or fixed on boats, these guns were being used against ground troops, and also on civilians attempting to flee LTTE controlled areas.
The Tigers had used the civilians to provide cover for these guns, which fire 122mm ammunition and could be devastating when fired with the barrels parallel to the ground (Direct Roll Fire). The Sri Lanka Air Force UAVs had detected these guns, but had been unable to neutralise them as they were being kept among the civilians.
On 22nd of April this column exposed LTTE’s suicide mission against civilians, where suicide mission LTTE fired mortars towards to civilians
Radar info proves mortars fired at civilians were by LTTE.
The news story carried by certain news agencies on Sunday, saying that 378 civilians were killed and 1,122 injured due to artillery shelling by the Sri Lanka Army on a hospital at Vellamullivaikkal in Mullaitivu, has been denied by the government.
The news reports quoted a government doctor named Dr. V. Shanmugarajah working within the No Fire Zone. This raises doubts as to the veracity of the story. Sources say that the doctor had spoken to the journalist based in Colombo from a satellite phone. But the Health Ministry says that it has not provided any satellite (or sat) phones to any of the ministry officials in the conflict zone. These raise doubts whether this Dr. V. Shanmugarajah is really a government doctor, and if so whether he has been forcibly detained or voluntarily stayed to work for the LTTE. These types of sat phones are normally used only by the LTTE who may have forced the doctor to speak to the journalist, and relay the information to gain international attention, sources said.
Sri Lanka military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara says that they possess radar information to prove this fact. The spokesman told Asian Tribune that the LTTE who have positioned their mortar launchers in the previously declared ‘Safe Zone,’ fired mortars towards innocent civilians in the re-demarcated ‘New Safe Zone’ this morning at around 10. The LTTE mortar fire had commenced around 9.00 am and continued till about 10.00 am.
The aim of this despicable action is to portray to the outside world that the Sri Lankan army was still deploying heavy weapons to fire at the government declared ‘Safe Zone’.
Information obtained through the SL Army’s mortar locating radars or Artillery Radar Electronic Ray Mechanism, detected these mortar attacks as originating from within Tiger controlled areas in the Safe Zone.
Meanwhile, 685 civilians escaped from the clutches of the LTTE, and reached Army controlled areas in Karayanmullivaikkal, and another 15 civilians reached the troops in Mullaitivu north on Sunday (May 10) morning. When they reached the troops, four of these civilians had sustained serious gunshot injuries due to LTTE fire. They were rushed to Anuradhapura Hospital for further treatment.
LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran and his remaining second rung leaders are a desperate lot, while being restricted within the safe zone, and are taking cover behind civilians. They very well know that without the civilian shield, they do not stand any chance whatsoever against the military. While forcibly detaining the civilians as hostages, the LTTE tells the world that the very same civilians do not want to leave the safe zone towards the government controlled areas. If this is the truth, then how come nearly 200,000 of those civilians earlier in the No Fire Zone have crossed over to the military controlled areas?
Furthermore, LTTE communications intercepted by the military confirm the truth behind the incident which occurred on Saturday (May 9) at 3.40 am. The conversation among the Tiger cadres further confirmed that the LTTE was forcibly keeping civilians under its captivity, preventing them from escaping its clutches.
The following communication among the LTTE cadres through their communication sets, was intercepted by the Army at 3.40 am on Saturday.
Sinduran: “Twenty captured, more are coming, cannot control, send more to control”.
Priyalan: “Stop whatever way possible”.
Again at 3.50 am the following conversation ensued:
Sinduran: Send a vehicle to send back captured twenty.
Anburasan: Milravan Master was sent with a vehicle.
Again at 6.15 am the following:Thirumalai Master: How so many were injured?Sinduran: Couldn’t control, large number came, we had to fire at them.
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement through a UN spokesman, today, May 12, “The above dialogue among the Tiger cadres tells of the desperate attempts the LTTE resorts to keep the civilians with them as a cover. And every time it fails to prevent the fleeing civilians, it opens fire and spreads the canard through interested news agencies to put the blame entirely on the Sri Lankan security forces.
“The LTTE’s reckless disrespect for the lives of tens of thousands of trapped civilians in the northern parts of Sri Lanka is simply disgusting, and, at least by now, the LTTE must let them cross over to a safer area.”.
UN Secretary General said that he was appalled at the killing of civilians and deeply concerned by the continued use of heavy weapons in this situation. Meanwhile, the SL government produced satellite images taken from UAV aircrafts that comprehensively prove LTTE atrocities in firing on their own people using heavy weapons. Many international observers were appalled at the horrible sight and condemned the carnage.
“Ban Ki-moon appealed to the SL government to explore all possible options to bring the conflict to an end, and to make public the terms under which that can be achieved with the minimum loss of civilian life, and for the LTTE to give sober and positive consideration of those terms,” Secretary-General’s statement said.