|Army at the doorstep of Kilinochchi
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|Author:||Guest [ Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:50 am ]|
|Post subject:||Army at the doorstep of Kilinochchi|
Army at the doorstep of Kilinochchi
Reports reaching Colombo yesterday suggested the security forces are now within a matter of kilometres of achieving one of its primary objectives, capturing Kilinochchi. LTTE is withdrawing all its offices, business establishments, hotels and media centres following the rapid advancement of the security forces towards the region from various directions in the Wanni, informed sources said. By yesterday, reports said, 85 per cent of the civilians in the area have evacuated the town and its environs.
@ Agencies/MOD / Sunday, September 28, 2008
The battle for the Tigers’ de facto capital Kilinochchi has now entered its final and most crucial stage. After a gruesome campaign of well over a year, the security forces are now within a matter of kilometres of achieving one of its primary objectives, capturing Kilinochchi. The signs are loud and clear that the military’s thrust into Kilinochchi will be launched very soon, some even predict that it might happen as soon as this week.
Reports reaching Colombo yesterday suggested that the Army has now reached Kokkavil town, situated between Mankulam and Iranamadu on the A9.
Kilinochchi is now a ‘ghost town’ with the LTTE withdrawing all its offices, business establishments, hotels and media centres following the rapid advancement of the security forces towards the region from various directions in the Wanni, informed sources said. Kilinochchi, as is now known, is the centre of political power for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). By yesterday, reports said, 85 per cent of the civilians in the area have evacuated the town and its environs. Some offices run by the guerrillas have been shifted. Some of the camps have also been shifted though the tigers remain in the area. Schools that catered to 30,000 children are closed. Only the Kachcheri (District Secretary's Office) functioned with limited staff. The re-capture of this town by troops would be the formal end of a so-called LTTE parallel administration from Kilinochchi.
Most of the civilians, Kilinochchi residents as well as the displaced, have taken the northeasterly route and have fled to the Paranthan-Mulaithivu road.
The Defence Ministry said at least 81 LTTE cadres were killed as Sri Lankan armed forces using fighters and artilleries pounded Tigers' stronghold, with troops reported to be on the outskirts of the key Kilinochchi town. "Troops killed 52 LTTE terrorists in heavy battles in Kilinochchi on Friday," a military spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity. Four rebels and 21 soldiers were wounded in the clashes, the spokesman said.
Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said the worst fighting Saturday broke out when troops pushing towards Kilinochchi battled with tigers in Akkarayankulam village. The fighting killed 12 LTTE and five soldiers, Nanayakkara said. Separate clashes in Jaffna, Vavuniya and Welioya killed another 13 tigers and wounded several soldiers, he said.
The fighter jets targeted female 'Black Tigers' training facility at Rathnapuram, Kilinochchi, as well as LTTE logistic centres and vehicles storage areas. "The site is known to be the main female 'Black Tiger' training and coordinating facility and a most frequented location by LTTE's intelligence wing chief, Pottu Amman, the Defence Ministry quoted military sources as saying. "The target was located 1.5 km East of the A-9 trunk road and North of the Iranamadu Tank," Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said, adding the target was acquired on real-time ground information.
The fiercest battles Friday erupted in Kilinochchi district, deep in the Tigers heartland, where troops and guerrilla fighters waged at least a dozen separate battles that killed 46 tigers and one soldier. Much of the fighting occurred as the troops, who were only three miles from the town of Kilinochchi, pushed forward with their offensive against the tigers. "At the same time, the LTTE is trying to attack the areas that we newly captured," army said.
Earlier this week, army commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said troops were closing in on the rebel capital and were expected to fire their first rounds on the town by next week. He also compared rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to "a caged animal."
The Army Commander also strengthened the 57 Division this week, by adding a fourth Brigade to it. The new 57-4 brigade is under the command of Lt. Col. Senaka Wijesuriya
As the Army neared Killinochchi outskirts, there continued to be pitch battles, especially at places such as Akkarayankulam, Vannivikilam, Vannarikulam and Nachchikuda, as the LTTE sent reinforcements to these points, to breakthrough security forces frontlines along the impressive bund not allowed trench defence line put up by them, to halt the troops’ advance. But, as in all recent clashes, the security forces beat back all these attempts, inflicting a heavy toll on the Tigers, while themselves making some supreme sacrifices.
One of the other major battlefield achievements this week was the recapture of Kokavil after 18 years. Kokavil army camp fell to the LTTE on July 11, 1990. Lt. Col. Senarath Bandara leading the 57-2 Brigade led his troops in taking the Kokavil railway station on Thursaday.
The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) this week introduced fuel-air bombs for the first time. According to military analysts, the lethal new bomb is ideal to take out Tigers from the thick jungles of Kilinochchi and Mulaithivu and could even help expedite an end to the war. As the name fuel-air indicates, it is a bomb that explodes on the surface, causing a fireball, while sucking out air from everything in the vicinity. In other words, if the fire ball does not kill an enemy combatant hiding in a fox hole, the air sucked out of his lungs certainly will. So, while the SLAF has bunker busters to take out LTTE command structures and leaders holed up in deep bunkers, the fuel-air bomb will take care of the hardcore fighters it is now throwing against advancing troops in the thick jungles.
The Army’s thrust towards Kilinochchi will pose the LTTE more than one obvious problem of losing its de facto capital. Once the Army reaches Kilinochchi, it is open terrain through Paranthan, up to Elephant Pass (EPS), the narrow gateway to the Jaffna peninsula. If the Military is able to make a rapid movement in this terrain, which is believed to be favourable for tanks and armour, then, it is in a position to retake EPS within a matter of days. An eventuality, which would jeopardise the LTTE’s defences in the northern front, along the Killali-Muhamali-Nagarkovil axis, and isolate its units now fighting in the Nachchikudah and Pooneryn region, west of the A9.
An experienced LTTE leader called Lawrence, has been redeployed from the Jaffna defences, with several hardcore fighting units, to the Akkarayankulam area this week. If these Tigers fail to halt the military advance, it is safe to say that nothing would stand between the Army’s march towards Kilinochchi and beyond.
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