Troops marching on to LTTE’s last terrain
Tigers fight back in desperation
Deploy 2000 civilians in front line
The week long battle in Puthukudiyiruppu, the last township under the
control of the LTTE, has given strong indications that Tiger outfit
cannot bear the pressure exerted on them by the Security Forces although
their last batch of cadres are engaged in a do or die battle to avoid
their last hideouts falling to the hands of the Security Forces.
elite commandos of the Tiger outfit, from the Radha regiment are now in
action in the battlefront. What they are trying is to breach the
Security Forces defences and come out of the small terrain they are now
holding in the Puthukudiyiruppu East and Iranapalai area to get rid of
the huge pressure, they face.
It is also now clear that the LTTE had kept their well trained cadres
as a reserve to deploy them in the battlefront at a critical stage like
The elite commando type cadres from the Radha Regiment who were
providing personal security for Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran are
now making a desperate attempt to protect their leader from being killed
or captured by the troops marching towards their most sensitive high
security zones in Iranapalai.
Whatever the reasons behind their action, the objective of the LTTE
is now very clear, they want to come out of this enclave and take refuge
in the thick jungle patches or mingle with the civilians to survive.
The effort made by the LTTE cadres on the wee hours of Thursday in
Chalai South was a clear indication that they were trying their best to
escape from this small terrain in Puthukudiyiruppu and engage in terror
acts targeting Security Forces and the civilians who had survived for a
long period in hiding.
But their efforts to create a calamity and break the defences of the
Security Forces ended in a fiasco in face of the valour and
determination of the Infantry troops and the Commando troops attached to
58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva who
retaliated to this counter attack fearlessly.
It was in the wee hours of Thursday the 58 Division and 55 Division
observed a civilian movement from the Puthumattalan area in the Safe
Zone towards Chalai. Initially there was around 500 civilians seen
moving to the area and suddenly they disappeared.
With this movement there was huge attack on the defence line linking
the 58 Division and the 55 Division South of Chalai. The area is
separated from a lagoon and it was difficult to operate in this stretch,
specially in the night.
The 11 Artillery Regiment attach to the 58 Division and 8 Vijayaba
Infantry Regiment attached to the 55 Division were manning this defence
in the edges of the lagoon stretch and reacted to the situation swiftly.
But they were overpowered by the sheer numbers of cadres, with huge
fire power who started to breach the defence line in waves around 3.30
a.m. By this time the operations room of the 58 Division and the 55
Division had made arrangements to send reinforcements to the area.
The Commanding Officer of the 2 Commando Regiment Lt. Colonel
Jayantha Balasuriya was immediately informed about the situation and he
was instructed to send commando troops to the scene immediately.
Four teams from the Echo Group were immediately taken to Chalai South
area in support of the infantry troops. By this time the Tiger cadres
have taken control of few bunkers in the defence line and they had
started firing at the Commando troops advancing towards them.The Tiger
cadres had reached the eastern side of the lagoon and started firing at
the troops advancing towards them. During this ensuing battle officer
Nadeera Vidhanapathirana was injured and Lt. Sanjeewa had to take over
the command of the commando groups thereafter.
A fierce battle erupted in this narrow stretch of lagoon till mid
noon Thursday to flush out the last Tiger cadres from the scene.
It was the fiercest battle fought by the Commando troops, and
Commanding Officer of the 2 Commando Regiment Lt. Colonel Jayantha
Balasuriya commanded the teams from the Echo group effectively to take
upper hand in the battle.
It was a battle between the elite commandos of the Army and the LTTE
and the commandos of the Sri Lanka Army proved their mettle at the end
of the day killing more than 65 Tiger cadres and recovering their
personal weapons and other heavy weapons taken with them to push back
the Security Forces defences.
During the search operation 33 Tiger bodies have been recovered from
the area and several bodies were found floating in the lagoon stretch.
Commando troops alone had collected 55 T-56 personal weapons
belonging to the dead cadres, two T-81-2 guns, MPMG, four LMG and three
60 mm mortars.
Meanwhile, troops of 55 Division have found 3 bodies of LTTE cadres
killed during the same confrontation on Thursday. 5 x T-56 weapons, 2x
T-81 assault riffles, 01x 60mm mortar bomb, 3 x I-Com sets, and ration
packets were also uncovered during the search operation.
to military officials this is the first time the Security Forces
recovered such a large number of weapons belonging to the Tiger cadres
after effectively foiling one of their massive counter attacks.
But it was not the end of their effort. The LTTE launched another
counter attack on Friday morning from the Puthumattalan North area
towards the 58 Division and Sea Tiger leader Soosai personally commanded
that counter attack around 3.30 a.m.
The LTTE is continuing these counter attacks as they had lost control
of the road that links the No fire zone and the mainland across the
lagoon with 58 Division troops capturing this road stretch on Thursday.
The counter attack by the LTTE on Friday morning was also foiled
effectively by the 58 Division troops compelling the Tiger cadres to
abandon their mission.
The 58 Division troops also foiled yet another attempt by the LTTE
send an explosive laden vehicle to the forward defence line of the 58
Division in the wee hours of yesterday.
But troops hit the vehicle before it reached the forward defences and
the vehicle exploded into a huge fire ball around 4.30 a.m. yesterday.
Amidst this explosion Tiger cadres tried to infiltrate the Security
Forces defence lines but it was effectively foiled by the 58 Division
troops pushing the Tiger cadres back to their terrain.
Therefore, within the past 72 hours the 58 Division had foiled three
major counter attacks by the LTTE killing over 100 Tiger cadres and
wounding scores among their elite cadres.
These counter attacks by the LTTE were launched after the 58 Division
troops captured the strategic Puthukudiyiruppu junction on Tuesday
morning after a 48 hour battle with the LTTE who were strongly defending
this junction for months.
The 58 Division troops commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva managed
to capture the Puthukudiyiruppu junction on Tuesday around 6.45 a.m.
The Task Force VIII troops led by Colonel G.V. Ravipriya also moved
into the Puthukudiyiruppu junction after 58 Div troops moved there on
The Task Force VIII troops are under the command of 53 Division GOC
Kamal Gunaratne who was promoted to the rank of Major General along with
59 GOC Nandana Udawatta.
Scores of Tiger cadres were killed during the fierce battles that
raged surrounding the Puthukudiyiruppu junction as 58 Division changed
its West to East march and directed troops towards this key junction on
It was after 48 hours fighting the Infantrymen of the 9 Gemunu Watch
under the command of Lt. Colonel Lal Chandrasiri and 12 Gajabha Regiment
under the command of Major Saliya Amunugama played the key role in
capturing Puthukudiyiruppu junction under the command of 582 Brigade
Commander Lt. Colonel Sanjay Wanigasinghe.
The 1Gajaba Regiment and 4 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment attached to the
Task Force VIII also joined hands with the 58 Division troops in
securing the entire Puthukudiyiruppu junction having entered the
Puthukudiyiruppu junction from the South of A-35 road.
The main concern of the 58 Division is now focused on the Iranapalai
located North East of Puthukudiyiruppu city centre where the LTTE has
located their main operation rooms of their top level leaders. As of
yesterday the 58 Division has completely captured Puthukudiyiruppu North
area and deployed its troops some 400 metres distance from the Safe Zone
and running parallel to the No Fire Zone from the mainland.
Therefore the main concern of the 58 Division is to capture the
remaining areas in Puthukudiyiruppu advancing from West to East
As 58 Division troops are marching towards Iranapalai area amidst
securing the remaining parts of the Puthukudiyiruppu town, the 55
Division under the command of Brigadier Prasanna Silva is also advancing
towards the edge of the No Fire Zone in Puthumattalan from the Northern
The Task Force VIII and the 53 Division are heading towards the
centre of Puthukudiyiruppu from South to North direction and covered the
entire Nanthikadal lagoon from the Western direction.
With these moves the LTTE has been confined now to less than 40
square kilo metres stretch in Puthukudiyiruppu including the safe zone
declared by the Government.
Therefore Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka during his visit
to Vanni Security Forces headquarters to assess the ground situation in
the Vanni liberation operation on Wednesday has told the field
commanders that all possible safety measures should be taken with utmost
precision when conducting offensive operations in the remaining area
under LTTE control.
According to the Army Commander the LTTE has been left with only 45
square kilometres including the safety zone declared for civilians
trapped inside Tiger controlled areas.
The number of civilians trapped inside this narrow land stretch is
around 76,000 according to estimates by Government officials.
Therefore, it has become a prerequisite on the part of the Security
Forces, as said by the Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka, to
take maximum safety measures to ensure safety of the civilians in this
narrow stretch of land.
Amid this background, the final battle against the LTTE is going to
be tricky for the Security Forces as they are responsible for each and
every civilian’s life entrapped there irrespective of the fact that they
are fighting against the most ruthless terror outfit in the world.
The LTTE has demonstrated its inhumanity against those innocent Tamil
civilians from their own community though the Security Forces welcome
The Sri Lankan Security Forces, unlike other nations which carried
out indiscriminate bombing against their enemy, from the beginning have
displayed its capability to react to such sensitive situations
maintaining a minimum civilian casualty rate and trying their best to
maintain a zero casualty rate.
On the other hand, Sri Lankan Security Forces cannot act
irresponsibly as they are engaged in a humanitarian operation to
liberate the innocent Tamil civilian population who are also a part of
the Sri Lankan nation, from the clutches of a terror outfit.
Therefore, the final battle which is now on in Puthukuduyiruppu in
the true spirit has turned into a humanitarian operation and each and
every step in this battle has become crucial because of the
possibilities of the LTTE using these innocent civilians as canon
fodder.Intelligence reports already has confirmed that the LTTE has
conscripted nearly 2,000 civilians between the age of 14 to 45 to the
front line after hurriedly arranged weapon training for them.
This might be an attempt by the LTTE to tarnish the image of the
Security Forces who had maintained very good record of protecting the
civilian lives during the war, at the last moment where LTTE is going to
face its certain defeat.
was amid this situation UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Friday (March
6) called on the LTTE to remove its weapons and fighters from areas of
civilian concentration to cooperate in all humanitarian efforts
calculated to relieve the suffering of civilians and to immediately
cease recruitment of children.
In his statement the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he was
extremely concerned over the deteriorating situation for civilians
trapped in Northern Sri Lanka. He strongly deplored the mounting death
toll of civilians in the area of fighting.
“There is an urgent need to bring this conflict to a speedy end
without further loss of civilian life.
In this respect, the Secretary-General renewed his call to the
Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
to suspend hostilities for the purposes of allowing civilians to leave
the conflict zone and allowing immediate humanitarian access to them.
Therefore, the decision is still in the hands of the LTTE whether
they are going to allow those civilians to move out of that boiling pot
or to wait till the Security Forces move into that area to liberate
them. The coming days will prove as to who would succeed.