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 Post subject: Vishvamadu area and Chalai captured - update
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:05 pm 
Tamil Tiger's biggest sea base Chalai captured
Deputy sea tiger leader and 4 other leaders killed

The government said Thursday forces will not suspend the offensive against Tamil Tigers, rejecting calls for a cease-fire by donor countries concerned by reports of growing civilian casualties. The government rejected calls for a cease-fire, saying it was a ploy by the rebels to buy time to regroup. "The government is not prepared to stop this humanitarian operation. No force can stop this operation. Government forces have already achieved significant victories against the terrorists," Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told Parliament.

Thursday, February 05, 2009
@ MOD / Agencies

Sri Lankan troops captured the Tamil Tigers' biggest sea base in Chalai and Vishvamadu area Thursday (5) and by evening brought the entire area under their control, the Army Headquarters declared.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara says troops of the 55th division took over the sea base on Thursday "in a major victory for the government." The seizure of the base in Chalai effectively cuts off the main supply route of the Tamil Tigers, who are on the verge of defeat in their 25-year war for a separate homeland.

The Deputy LTTE sea tiger leader and three other sea tiger leaders were killed in a fierce confrontation took place in north of Chalai yesterday, 4 February, the military sources said. "According to the available information, LTTE sea tiger deputy leader known as Vinayagam (alias Mike-4) was killed as troops of 55 Division launched an effective offensive thrust against LTTE resistance" MOD said.

"By intercepting LTTE communication channels, it is revealed that terrorists were unable to found the body of the killed deputy sea tiger leader so far as troops continued their offensive on remaining LTTE positions in the area." LTTE leader known as Kader who was in-charge of land fighting group and sea tiger Pooneryn area leader know as Pahalawan were also killed during the confrontation, military sources further confirmed.

Sea tiger special leader known as Sinna Kannan was killed in a separate confrontation reported in north of Chalai around 8.50 AM yesterday. He was later given the self-styled rank of 'Lt. Colonel', Electronic Warfare (EW) sources confirmed intercepting LTTE communication channels. Eight more sea tigers were also killed during the battle.

Vinayagam alias Mike-4, was the third in rank order after Soosai, the Sea Tiger wing chief. He has served more than 25 years in the LTTE and flown to Norway in the year 2004 in search of more and more funds for the LTTE cadres killing machine.

Pagalavan, serving the Sea Tiger wing for more than 15 years has remained one of the close confidantes of the LTTE leader, Prabhakaran. A native from Puthukudirippu and Mullaittivu areas was also the brainchild behind the attempted attack on the troop carrier, Jetliner vessel when it was sailing into the Trincomalee harbor sometime back. Pagalavan was also responsible for masterminding a series of Sea Tiger attacks on naval troops and other attacks on ground troops after 2004.

Kader, a Sea Tiger some 15 years back became a leading Tiger strategist not allowed fighter after 2005 to take part in ground offensives against the troops. He was also the LTTE political leader for Vadamarachchi north in the year 2005.

Sinnakannan, a so-called “Lieutenant Colonel” in the LTTE and another senior LTTE cadre, identified as Annavelan were felled by Vijayabahu Infantry troops in the 55 Division area, led by Colonel Mahinda Weerasooriya on Wednesday (4) while the troops were smashing LTTE strongholds in the north of Chalai. Troops also confirmed at least 10 more experienced LTTE cadres perished during those attacks. Subsequent searches bagged one Multi Purpose Machine Gun, one Rocket Propeller Grenade, thousands of ammunition rounds, twenty hand grenades, parts of a radar, ten pouches and a stock of other LTTE items.

In addition, two dead Tigers, one of who has been identified as Annavelan, a senior LTTE cadre were also found by the troops along with above warlike items.

Sri Lankan troops have almost reached the top brass of the LTTE, the sources said, which is indicated by the fact that for the past few days security forces are having increasing encounters with the elite Black Tigers, which are supposed to be the most battle hardy and loyal suicidal squad of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran.

Total seizure of Chalai came on the heels of the Army’s complete liberation of the entire land, Visvamadu, about 100 square km in extent in the former Tiger stronghold, in the past few days after a string of military offensives that resulted in the fall of all LTTE fortresses into Army hands while boxing remaining tigers into an area, less than some 200 square km.

Meanwhile, "Wednesday (4) evening a LTTE suicide bomber, seemingly in his early 13-16 years of age exploded himself after reaching soldiers in a location, north of Chalai at about 8.30 p.m." SLA said. "The suicide bomber whose body was torn apart however could not do much damage to the troops since troops, suspicious of his behaviour moved out instantly and avoided injury and death. One soldier sustained injuries in the explosion and was evacuated to hospital after the incident." SLA further added.

The government said Thursday forces will not suspend the offensive against Tamil Tigers, rejecting calls for a cease-fire by donor countries concerned by reports of growing civilian casualties.

The U.S., Britain and Canada have urged both sides to agree to a temporary cease-fire to allow civilians and the wounded to leave the conflict zone and asked that humanitarian agencies be given access. Sri Lanka barred nearly all aid groups from the war zone last year.

"Our forces have now surrounded the last stronghold of the terrorists. Our troops are challenging the Tigers waiting in front of their den," Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told Parliament. The government rejected calls for a cease-fire, saying it was a ploy by the rebels to buy time to regroup.

Wickremanayake described the fighting as a "humanitarian operation" to rid the nation of terrorism and to free the minority Tamils, saying they have lived under the yoke of Tamil Tiger oppression for decades.

"The government is not prepared to stop this humanitarian operation. No force can stop this operation. Government forces have already achieved significant victories against the terrorists," he said.

Wickremanayake said he heard reports some rebel fighters were planning to surrender. "We are ready to accept anyone who will embrace democracy by giving up arms. We have said that from the beginning," he said.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said 1,182 civilians crossed over from the rebel area to government land on Wednesday and Thursday. "There are many more we are expecting," he said. Wickremanayake said the Tamil Tigers are now looking for ways to escape by mingling with the civilians, adding that troops are now searching the jungles for the Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran. "The last moment of Tigers will be painful and as well as decisive," he said.

The Tamil Tigers, who are boxed in a 30-square-mile (85-square-kilometer) sliver of coastal land, appear on the verge of defeat after a 25-year war for a separate homeland for the country's minority Tamils. About 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

Troops of the 55th division capture Chalai Sea Tiger base

The initial battle to capture the Chalai Sea Tiger base started on Sunday February 1. The 55 Division planned the operation in two stages. The first was to cross the open terrain and the second was to cross the 350 metre long lagoon stretch between the two islands.

Troops of the 4th Gemunu Watch led by Major Upul Senerath of the 552 Brigade stormed the heavily fortified earth and Sand bund built by the Tigers around 6.30 pm. The one kilometre long, seven feet high bund linked the sea from the east and the lagoon from the west just a few kilomtres north of the Chalai Sea Tiger base.

The devastating attack was launched after an hour of fierce fighting using Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers, artillery guns and mortars targeting the earth bund, which is the first barrier that the troops had to face after crossing the Chundikulam lagoon some three kilometres away.

The bund itself was a mine field. One soldier was instantly killed when one of the mines went off as he stepped on it. However, the troops managed to capture the bund despite heavy resistance from the Tigers, who continuously fired at the security forces using 12.7mm guns, 81 mm mortars and 30 mm canon guns, which normally is fixed to attack boats. The gun had been mounted on a tractor, which was on the move after every attack. Within a span of two hours, the troops were able to take full control of the bund.

After holding the bund during the night, the 1st Commando Regiment led by Major K. Gnaratne moved beyond the bund with the break of dawn and was able to clear an area facilitating the 7 Vijayaba and 6 Light Infantry to move further.

The second sand bund was located some 400 metres from the first bund. It was not built as strongly as the first one, but the Tigers attacked the advancing forces using heavy weapons. However, by noon the troops were able to gain full control of the second bund after fierce fighting.

LTTE had mounted heavy guns and continued to attack the military. On the same day troops moved to the third bund that was located one kilomtere away from the second bund and took control of it as the Tigers fled the bund due to the barrage of artillery shells launched by the 4th Artillery regiment.

The third bunker line was captured by two companies from the 7 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment who had infiltrated the area while the 6 Ceylon Light Infantry gave maximum fire support from the beach flank.

By Tuesday, troops detected the LTTE’s fourth bund some four kilometres away from the first bund. A heavy battle occurred in this area for several hours. Unable to withstand the assault from the military the LTTE who had suffered a large number of casualties moved further back towards the Chalai base.

The second phase of the operation was entrusted to the 553 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Mahinda Weerasuriya. The 7 Vijayabha Infantry Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel Deepal Pussellage, and 6 Sri Lanka Light Infantry battalion under the command of Major Manada Yahampath commenced the second phase of the battle on February 2. The 1 Commando Regiment also gave close support for the 553 Brigade.

By Wednesday, the troops were at a crucial point in the battle as the LTTE entered their last defence line to protect the Chalai base. As the 55 Division commenced the final phase of their operation to capture Chalai around mid noon on Wednesday a young girl aged 13 to 14 suddenly appeared in front of the Tiger defences and started to reach the Security Forces as if she was going to surrender to the Security Forces. A soldier in the front line after observing her suspicious move and challenged her to stop. Once she was stopped the girl had exploded her suicide kit causing minor injuries to the soldier.

With troops closing in on the Chalai base, the LTTE used at least eight separate teams and launched several waves of attacks on the military. But these attacks were repulsed by the troops causing heavy damages to the Tigers. The Sea Tigers made desperate attempts to stop the advancing troops after reaching the area in five boats and attacking the troops of the 6 Sri Lanka Light Infantry Battalion. Troops foiled all these attempts by the Sea Tigers and reached Chalai destroying LTTE boats.

Meanwhile, the LTTE radio communication had confirmed the deaths of five top level leaders of the sea Tiger wing during these battles.

Troops of the 55 Division captured the Chalai Sea Tiger base after five days of fighting and killing several Sea Tiger leaders, on Wednesday night. With the fall of Chaial the LTTE’s access to the sea has been virtually cut-off and they were confined mainly to land areas. The strategically important base in Chalai was one of the main locations where the Sea Tigers carried out several devastating attacks on the Sri Lanka Navy, which lost several boats off this coast.

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