|A defiant, last stand by the Tigers
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|Author:||Saman [ Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:00 pm ]|
|Post subject:||A defiant, last stand by the Tigers|
A defiant, last stand by the Tigers
Tiger cadres resisted the troops for 6 hours in Puthukkudiyiruppu junction . Cadres hid in buildings in the middle of the town and kept firing at the troops. In the end, armoured units of the 5th mechanized infantry division were called into destroy the buildings from where troops were taking fire. The armoured vehicles brought in included 32 T55 and AM2 Battle Tanks which had been recently imported from the Czech Republic.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
There was a time when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) controlled over 15,000 sq km of territory in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Today, the beleaguered Tigers are boxed into an area less than 50 square kilometers in Mullaitivu district. Around 50,000 troops on ground have encircled the LTTE positions. The 53,55, 58, 59 divisions along with Task Force VIII are all around the tigers in the North, West and South. The 54 division and Task Forces III and IV are being kept in reserve in the region.
Troops of the 53 and 58 Division and Task Force VIII captured the strategic Puthukkudiyiruppu junction early Tuesday morning, last week. The Puthukuduyiruppu town centre was captured after heavy gun-fire and pitched battles with the LTTE beginning Monday night. Heavy fighting raged throughout the night as troops were nearing their target.
The three Army groups entered the town on Tuesday morning, amid heavy resistance. 53 Division and Task Force VIII were advancing on the town south of A-35 route. 58 Division is advancing from the North of A-35.
After three days of intense fighting, troops of 12 Gajaba Regiment (GR) and the 1 GR of 53 Division and Task Force VIII, linked up in the heart of town on Tuesday morning. Bravo Company under Capt. Sampath Ranatunga and Charlie Company under Lt. Gamini Bandara of 12 GR under Maj. Saliya Amunugama, entered the town around 9 a.m. Troops of 1 GR under Lt. Col. Sarath Aluvihara, entered the town centre from south of Pudukudyiruppu. The advancing troops met with heavy resistance fromy the enemy. 1 GR of the 68-1 Brigade under Lt. Col.l Lalantha Gamage, and 4 GR under Maj. Rohitha Aluvihara, proceeded from the South of Pudukudyiruppu. The two regiments recovered bodies of seven terrorists and 10 weapons on Wednesday.
Tiger cadres resisted the troops for 6 hours. Cadres hid in buildings in the middle of the town and kept firing at the troops. In the end, armoured units of the 5th mechanized infantry division were called into destroy the buildings from where troops were taking fire. The armoured vehicles brought in included 32 T55 and AM2 Battle Tanks which had been recently imported from the Czech Republic. In the face of the Army’s overwhelming firepower, the guerillas had no option but to abandon the town and flee further to the North-East.
It was revealed that, the bodies of the LTTE cadres killed during confrontations in Pudukudyiruppu town, were found buried there itself. Hundreds of such bodies were recovered from shallow graves by the advancing SF. The SF fighting in the urban areas of Pudukudyiruppu, had advanced about 4 km in 10 days and had only 4 km more to pass, to complete the capture of the difficult built-up area.
The Army’s next target is Iranapalai in Mullaitivu. Iranapalai is situated two kilometres North-East of Puthukkudiyiruppu. Iranapalai is also said to be the location where Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, his intelligence leader Pottu Amman, and senior LTTE leaders such as Bhanu, Theepan, Swarnam and Sea Tiger leader Soosai are holed out. Meanwhile, intelligence agencies have ascertained that Pottu Amman, the so-called “Brains” of the Tiger outfit, is now personally leading LTTE cadres in battle.
With the capture of the town centre, the remaining Tiger cadres are further pushed towards the northeast of the Mullaitivu lagoon closer to the government declared ‘Safe Zone’ along the sea coast. The army has now commenced an eastward thrust towards the coastal belt, where the remaining Tigers were hiding.
By last week, the 55 division had expanded its operations to the South of Chalai and is now positioned 4km to the North of the Puthumathalan safe zone. On February 28th, this division managed to cross the Chalai lagoon and enter Puthumathalan North. On the night of the 27th, troops managed to cross the lagoon without being detected by Tigers and were able to construct a bunker line. Using this bunker line as cover, troops fought their way through and captured the Northern point of Puthumathalan.
As battles were raging, a group of at least 20 Sea Tiger boats directed a continuous hail of bullets at the troops from 12.7mm cannons mounted on the boats. Army intelligence has established that Sea Tiger leader Soosai and leader of the LTTE women’s wing, Vidusha were personally directing the attack. The Tigers launched simultaneous attacks from both land and sea, with the aim of trapping the 55 division in a narrow stretch of coast.
Meanwhile, 58 and 55 Divisions foiled a LTTE’s plan to break into the military forward defence line posing as civilians, in the Pudumatalan area. Military intelligence had warned that the LTTE was preparing for an attack.
During the attack, the LTTE captured eight bunkers in the area, where the 55 and 58 Divisions met. This included seven bunkers of the 11th Artillery Regiment under Lt. Col. Pradeep Perera of 58 division and another of the 8 Vijayaba Regiment under 55 Division.
Echo Company under Maj. Shah Hameed of the 2nd Commando Regiment attached to 58 Division under Lt. Col. Jayantha Balasuriya and Fox Company under Capt. Nadira Vidanapathirana joined in the confrontation.
The SF that re-captured the bunkers, recovered 44 bodies of LTTE cadres of the Radha Regiment, one of its foremost units, and a large cache of arms including 101 T-56 rifles, a T-81 weapon, seven light machine guns, three 60mm mortar launchers and a stock of food, during the search operations that followed.
Capt. Vidanapathirana was injured during the confrontations.
The 12th Gemunu Watch recovered nine bodies, and 55 Division three bodies, along with six weapons and three communication sets.
Intelligence has revealed that the LTTE, which is not in a position to launch any major attacks, has mobilised small terror teams with special training, to carry out widespread hit-and-run attacks, as in the 1980s.
Special Forces and Commando teams, along with Infantry units, have been deployed to track down one such group.
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