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 Post subject: The battle for Sampur - Sampur Re-taken! - Updated
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:07 pm 
SL army takes Strategically important Sampur

“Our armed forces have captured Sampur for the welfare and benefit of the people living there,” said the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an official statement. The area to be controlled is about 20 sq km. The LTTE had surreptitiously taken over Sampur over the last four years using the ceasefire agreement of February 2002, and had made it an important artillery base. The battle to get Sampur was launched by the Sri Lankan tri-services on August 28. The operations were led by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj.Gen.Nanda Mallawarchchi based in the frontlines in Kallar. The LTTE’s forces were led by Col.Sornam, the commander of the Trincomalee district.

PK.Balachandran
Colombo, September 4, 2006


Sri Lankan security forces captured Sampur town in the eastern district of Trincomalee from the Tamil Tiger rebels on Monday, thus ensuring the safety of the Trincomalee harbour and naval base.

But the Tigers’ artillery pieces are reportedly intact, having been removed to safer places in the Verugal-Vaharai area further south in Batticaloa district prior to the evacuation of the town.

“Our armed forces have captured Sampur for the welfare and benefit of the people living there,” said the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an official statement.

The armed forces deserved the country’s “honor and respect” for the achievement of that objective, the President said.

What was on was not war, but only “retaliatory action in the face of attacks,” he explained.

Addressing the cadres of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) here, the President said that there was still the challenge of “removing the germs of mistrust spread among the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people of Sri Lanka.”

He called upon his party men to rise to meet this challenge and build a new Sri Lanka based on “mutual trust, love and understanding.”

Giving details of the military operation, the government’s defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said: “ We have neutralized the LTTE’s gun positions and our troops have entered Sampur. But since Sampur is a large area, the process of consolidation will be on for a few more days.”

The area to be controlled is about 20 sq km.

Strategic significance of Sampur

The LTTE’s presence in Sampur had been posing a very grave threat to Trincomalee harbour and naval base across the Koddiyar Bay.

It commands the entry to the harbour.

The LTTE had surreptitiously taken over Sampur over the last four years using the ceasefire agreement of February 2002, and had made it an important artillery base.

It had kept up an artillery barrage on the Trincomalee harbour from Sampur making it difficult for the harbour to function normally.

Civilian shipping had become extremely problematical.

The battle to get Sampur was launched by the Sri Lankan tri-services on August 28.

The operations were led by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj.Gen.Nanda Mallawarchchi based in the frontlines in Kallar.

The LTTE’s forces were led by Col.Sornam, the commander of the Trincomalee district.

Though supported by the navy and the air force, government’s ground troops made slow progress till September 1 because the LTTE had mined the area heavily.

The LTTE was also keeping up a steady barrage of artillery and mortar fire from Sampur and Mutur East.

On September 2, the LTTE counter attacked at Pattiaddy, forcing the government forces to go back to earlier positions in Selvanagar and Thoppur, says the leading Tamil analyst DBS.Jeyaraj in his website crosscurrents.org

LTTE repatriates artillery pieces?

The fighting was continuous except on August 31 and September 3, but by then, the LTTE had removed its artillery from Sampur to safer places in the Vaharai-Verugal area of Batticaloa district, according to Jeyaraj.

However, the government’s objective of driving the LTTE’s artillery out of Sampur had been attained.

The government forces’ superior fire power, including bombardment from the air, had made the LTTE’s continued presence in Sampur untenable.

Bid to take India along

Meanwhile, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government moved on the diplomatic front to secure the support of the international community, including India, for the long and intense military operation using all arms of the armed services including supersonic fighter-bombers and the deadly Multi-Barrel Rocket Lauchers (MBRLs).

While in London last week, President Rajapaksa met the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and explained to him the need to take Sampur among other things.

The President sent his brother and advisor, Basil Rajapaksa, to New Delhi to explain to the Indian authorities the critical importance of securing Sampur, the loss of which had severely threatened the Trincomalee harbour.

Trincomalee is critical for India because India has 100 giant oil tanks near by in the China Bay area.

India hopes to use the tanks for storage and bunkering in the future. It also plans to build a lube plant there at a cost of several million dollars.

Heavy casualties and displacement of civilians

However, the Sampur operations have resulted in very heavy casualties on both sides, because of very heavy air and artillery bombardment.

According to existing estimates, the LTTE has lost 40 to 50 cadres and the army about 70.

But the humanitarian tragedy is much greater.

About 12 villages in Sampur had been reportedly flattened, and an estimated 15,000 families, mostly Tamils, had fled the area to safer places in Batticaloa district.

There are no private or government relief agencies working in these areas because of the continuous fighting.

Given the killing of 17 local workers of the French agency “Action Against Hunger” in Mutur in the first week of August, international aid agencies have refused to work in the Sri Lankan war –zone, demanding credible assurances of security from the Sri Lankan government.



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The battle for Sampur - Heavy resistance, High Toll
Sri Lanka death toll hits 119 as troops halt offensive

Wednesday August 30, 12:47 AM
@ Yahoo.Au


COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lankan troops facing heavy resistance halted an advance into territory held by the rebel Tamil Tigers, as the death toll from recent fighting hit 119, officials and guerrillas said.

Image

The drive to nullify rebel artillery guns in Sampur town, which threaten the strategically important naval port of Trincomalee about 10 kilometres (six miles) away, stalled because of rebel resistance, a military officer said.

He said artillery duels had died down Tuesday, but war planes bombed suspected Tamil Tiger bases north of Trincomalee in a bid to knock out guerrilla supplies.

The battle for Sampur included air, artillery and ground attacks over late Sunday and Monday. Military sources said 15 soldiers were killed and another 92 wounded.

It is the latest bloody clash in Sri Lanka's three-decade-old ethnic conflict, which has escalated since December after a February 2002 ceasefire began unravelling.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) also shelled an army camp in the neighbouring district of Batticaloa.

"There were heavy mortar attacks against Vavunathivu army camp at Batticaloa and troops retaliated in kind," the military officer told AFP by phone from the region. "We have no details of casualties there yet."

Meanwhile troops killed at least 16 Tiger guerrillas in the northern town of Vavuniya after they attempted to attack a military bunker line early Tuesday, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Image


It said two civilians were also gunned down by unidentified gunmen in Vavuniya.

The LTTE, which wants to carve out a homeland for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils, complaining they are discriminated against, said 20 civilians were killed and 26 injured in air and artillery attacks late Monday.

The rebel group did not list any casualties it may have suffered in the Sampur fighting. The defence ministry said at least 66 rebels were killed on Monday by security forces in and around Sampur.

It was not possible to get independent verification of the casualty figures.

The ministry said the Sampur offensive was launched after the rebels fired mortar bombs and small arms at security forces from their positions in the town.

A military official in Trincomalee said long-range artillery attacks by the Tigers threaten troops and supplies as well as civilians in the area.

Trincomalee is the starting point for soldiers and supplies sent to the embattled northern Jaffna peninsula. The port is also the site of an oil storage facility that provides energy security for Sri Lanka's 19.5 million people.

Nordic truce monitors have said Sri Lanka's current ceasefire holds on paper only. At least 1,500 people have been killed in fighting since December.

A previous truce ended in April 1995 when the rebels sank two naval boats anchored at Trincomalee harbour, which lies some 260 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of the capital.

More than 60,000 people have been killed in the Sri Lankan conflict. Political talks on ending the violence stalled in April 2003.


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 Post subject: Army Chief vows control of Sampur in next few days
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:30 am 
Army Chief vows control of Sampur in next few days

LTTE very weak and showing little resistance after losing over 100 cadres in two days: Gen. Fonseka

By Easwaran Rutnam
@ DM / 31Aug2006


Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka vowed to regain full control of Sampur, from the hands of the LTTE in Trincomalee, within the next couple of days, even as heavy fighting continued between Government troops and the rebels, in the strategic area.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror Gen. Fonseka claimed that after 3 days of heavy fighting the military had moved into areas previously controlled by the LTTE in the Sampur region including Kataiparichan.

“Our people have moved into Sampur and the LTTE is beginning to flee. We already have total control of Kataiparichan and within the next few days, we should be able to have 100% control of Sampur,” Gen. Fonseka said.

Image

When asked by the Daily Mirror if “100 percent” could be interpreted as taking control of the entire Sampur region, Gen. Fonseka responded in the affirmative, backing it with claims that the military was moving into key localities, which are the cornerstones of Sampur.

Fighting was less intense yesterday but the Military said that troops, backed by the Air Force, engaged in extensive search and clear operations last afternoon, by continuing their consolidation process in Sampur and Ichchalanpattu, removing thousands of booby traps, landmines, claymore mines and explosive devices.

“The LTTE fired artillery and mortars from areas in Sampur yesterday, which was retaliated by the troops, backed by aerial attacks by the Air Force. The fighting was not as heavy as in the last three days,” military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said.

The Army Commander is of the view that the LTTE is showing very little resistance in Sampur and attributes it to the heavy casualties suffered by the rebels, owing to the intense fighting over the last couple of days.

“The LTTE is clearly very weak and that is why they are showing little resistance. They have lost more than a 100 of their cadres during the last two days,” Gen. Fonseka said.

The Security Forces on Sunday, launched an operation to neutralise LTTE positions in Sampur which were considered a threat to the Trincomalee harbour and the adjoining naval base, while ground troops were also involved in clearing rebels from Mutur and Thopur.

The battle for Sampur had so far claimed more than 31 lives and injured around 101, which includes 13 soldiers dead and 79 injured, while the rebels say they have lost 18 of their cadres, with another 22 wounded.


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 Post subject: Sri Lankan Army Captures Rebel Stronghold
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:58 pm 
Sri Lankan Army Captures Rebel Stronghold in Trincomalee Area

The military on Thursday claimed to have established complete control over the Tiger base in Kaddaparichchan to the South of Trincomalee. The military said the search and clear operations would continue until the troops ensure that LTTE would not use the area as a launch pad for artillery and mortar attack.

By Anusha Ondaatjie and Paul Tighe
@ Bloomberg - 01Sep2006


Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka's army captured a stronghold of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam near the northeastern port of Trincomalee, the government said.

The area south of the port was ``brought under complete control of the army troops engaged in neutralizing the LTTE artillery and mortar location in Sampoor which is a threat to the Trincomalee harbor,'' the Media Center for National Security said yesterday on its Web site.

The offensive in Sampoor will bring about the collapse of the 2002 cease-fire unless it stops, the LTTE said earlier this week. Rebel forces are containing the army's advances in the area, it said at the time, according to the TamilNet Web site.

Fighting has escalated in Sri Lanka, including a battle last month for the town of Muttur near Trincomalee. Clashes in the northern Jaffna peninsula have cut off the region, leaving its estimated 500,000 residents short of food, water and medicines. The violence is the worst since the Norway-brokered cease-fire halted the country's two-decade civil war.

Soldiers cleared areas near Trincomalee of landmines and booby traps, the government said yesterday.

``The ongoing military action is defensive in nature,'' it said in a statement. It is aimed at preventing the LTTE from threatening efforts to bring civilians back to the area. An estimated 40,000 people fled Muttur to escape last month's fighting, the government said three days ago.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is on a private visit to the U.K., yesterday met Prime Minister Tony Blair for talks in London, the government said in a statement. It didn't give any details of their discussions, saying only that the meeting lasted for almost an hour.

Truce Monitors

A deadline set by the LTTE comes into effect today for European Union members of the international mission monitoring the cease-fire to leave Sri Lanka. The Tamil Tigers said an EU decision in May to designate the LTTE as a terrorist organization means EU members Sweden, Finland and Denmark are no longer neutral in the conflict.

The withdrawal affects 39 of the 57 members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. Monitors from Norway and Iceland will remain and will be increased to 30 ``when the ground situation permits,'' the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said last month.

The SLMM two days ago blamed the army for the killing of 17 workers from the French aid group Action Against Hunger last month in Muttur. Sri Lanka's government rejected the monitors' report, saying it failed to produce ``any factual evidence.''

Aid Operations

The lack of an explanation from the government about the attack is unacceptable and may affect continuing aid operations, Jan Egeland, the United Nations emergency relief coordinator, said yesterday, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.

``We cannot continue in this area unless people will be held accountable for the execution of 17 of our colleagues,'' Egeland said, according to the BBC.

Aid convoys will be allowed to cross rebel-held territory to reach government-controlled areas in Jaffna, TamilNet cited S.P. Thamilchelvan, the head of the LTTE's political wing, as saying two days ago.

The LTTE is ``completely prepared'' for supplies of food, medicine and other essentials to be transported between Vanni and Jaffna by road, Thamilchelvan said.

More than 200,000 people have fled their homes because of fighting in Sri Lanka since April, the UN said last week. It appealed Aug. 30 for $37.5 million in aid to provide food, water and protection for displaced people.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for two decades for a separate homeland in northern and eastern parts of the country, in a conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people. The LTTE wants an interim self-government established in areas it controls before a peace settlement is reached.

Sri Lanka's $24 billion economy has had uninterrupted growth since the 2002 truce, brokered by Norway, went into effect.


To contact the reporters on this story: Anusha Ondaatjie in Colombo at anushao@bloomberg.net ; Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net

In control, says Sri Lankan Army

B. Muralidhar Reddy
@ The Hindu


COLOMBO: Amid assertions by the Army that it is determined to neutralise the LTTE base in Sampoor in the east, the military on Thursday claimed to have established complete control over the Tiger base in Kaddaparichchan to the South of Trincomalee.

The Army and the LTTE are engaged in intense fight for over four days now for the control of the Tiger-held Sampoor. The Government believes that the LTTE offensive in Trincomalee is being directed from the Sampoor base and it is necessary to destroy it to secure the Trincomalee naval base.

A statement by the military said troops were continuing with their operations.

Search operations

The military said the search and clear operations would continue until the troops ensure that LTTE would not use the area as a launch pad for artillery and mortar attack.

"In April 2003, the Navy brought the LTTE build-up in the south of Trincomalee to the notice of Government authorities and the LTTE went on establishing new camps after the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement." Implied in it was the suggestion that the than Government ignored the warning. The U.N. Emergency Relief Co-Coordinator Jan Egeland has said the conflict has deepened while all eyes were on Lebanon. He said $37.5 million was needed to meet the needs of 220,000 newly displaced people.

"However, it was unacceptable that the Government had not provided any explanation regarding the execution of 17 humanitarian workers on 5 August, and humanitarian assistance could not continue, unless the people responsible for those actions were held accountable," he said in New York.

Serious exception

Sri Lanka took serious exception to the reported remarks by Norwegian Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer that President Mahinda Rajapakse's scheduled meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair is "presumably an attempt to secure India's support in favour of Sri Lanka's policy."

Defence spokesman and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the President was on a "private" visit though the situation back home was bound to figure in his talks with Mr. Blair.


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 Post subject: Lanka President rules out war despite capture of Sampur
 Post Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:45 pm 
Lanka President rules out war despite capture of Sampur

Copyright © Zee News Limited
@Sep 4, 2006


Colombo, Sept 04: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday ruled out an all-out war with Tamil Tigers despite the military capturing a key town from the rebels and raising the prospect of a "new hope in the battlefield."

Rajapakse told a party convention here that the military captured Sampur in the North-East of the island eliminating an artillery threat on the strategic port of Trincomalee, which is home to a naval base and an airfield. The Indian Oil Company also has a storage facility there.

"Our troops have captured Sampur... That is for the benefit and the good of the people there," he said amid applause at a rally to mark the 55th anniversary of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

"This is not war, we are only responding to an attack on us," the President said.

The rebels had said weeks ago that if the Army tried to take control of the town it would lead to a collapse of a ceasefire in place since 2002.

Rajapakse said his appointment of Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka to lead the military was paying dividends.

He said Fonseka was set to retire when he took office as the President and Commander-in-Chief of armed forces in November and decided to give Fonseka the top job.

"Today we have a new hope in the battlefield," he said.

At the same time, he reiterated that he wanted a negotiated political settlement to the island's drawn-out separatist conflict and wanted an "honourable peace."


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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:42 am
Posts: 22
its great our armed forces captured Sampur. We must all give our support to our armed forces and to the president for their effort to bring peace harmony and prosperity to Sri Lanka. AT the same time when you write articles please don't mention LTTE as rebels and gurilla's because they are not them. simply they are TERRORISTS.


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