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 Post subject: Army on the winning track
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:58 pm 
Army on the winning track
Army Reaches The Coast Again

The army captured the northwestern town of Vidattaltivu, a LTTE logistics and naval base. The LTTE had controlled this town since 1990. This comes two weeks after another LTTE held town was captured. The LTTE controlled territory is being broken up by the capture of these coastal towns, and that is the beginning of the end of LTTE control in the north. For while the LTTE can scrounge up more fighters to man bunkers, they can't create more land.

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The offensive launched two years ago by Sri Lankan government forces against Tamil Tiger rebels took on new momentum in the past few days with the capture of a key rebel naval base.

On Wednesday government troops took the port town of Vidattaltivu on Sri Lanka's northwest coast after heavy fighting. The port has been a base for the Tamil Tigers' small boat navy and is an important entry point for arms and other supplies smuggled in by the rebels, mostly from India across the Palk Strait.

Government forces swiftly consolidated their hold on Vidattaltivu and pursued Tamil fighters northwards, attacking them with air force bombers and helicopter gunships.

The Sri Lankan army Thursday continued its advance march, a day after capturing a LTTE sea base in the Northwestern Mannar region.

"The capture of Vidataltivu area near Mannar is a remarkable victory for the Army because the LTTE's biggest Sea Tiger base on the western coast was located there. Their deep sea smuggling and other illegal activities have been affected following this," Sri Lankan military spokesperson Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara told reporters at Colombo today.

Brig. Nanayakkara claimed that the LTTE relocated its boats and other military equipment from Vidataltivu under intense pressure from the Army over the last few days.

At least two LTTE boats fleeing from Vidataltivu were destroyed by Sri Lankan Air Force helicopters Wednesday, Brig. Nanayakkara claimed.

Sri Lankan warplanes on Friday carried out air raids over the rebel-controlled northern region of Mullaittivu, targeting a Tiger logistics base, the airforce said, adding that the mission was successful.

"We took two targets, One was a heavy weapon deployment site," said air force spokesman Janaka Nanayakkara. He said two large logistic boats were destroyed and a third was damaged in Friday's attack.

Officers described the capture of the port as a "fatal blow" to the Tigers, properly known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have been fighting for an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka since 1983. About 70,000 people have died in the fighting and terrorist attacks by Tigers, who have targeted politicians, officials, journalists and civilians, usually in the capital, Colombo.

The Colombo government does indeed have cause for satisfaction and some confidence that its boast that it can capture all Tiger territory by the end of the year can be met.

Since the collapse of the 2002 ceasefire and peace process brokered by Norway, and the resumption of all-out civil war in 2006, government forces have had a steady succession of victories. Colombo's military now controls northeastern Sri Lanka, in part because of the defection of a local renegade Tamil Tiger commander known as "Karuna."

Though casualty claims by both sides are usually exaggerated and unreliable, the government claims to have killed 9,000 Tigers since 2006 while losing about 1,000 troops itself. Remaining Tiger forces are said to control only a shrinking area in north-western Sri Lanka.

Troops have killed 5,017 rebels since January and 446 soldiers have died in combat over the same period, according to defence ministry figures.

Army Commander Lt.-Gen. Sarath Fonseka said a few days ago his soldiers have noted that the Tigers no longer have "the same strength and willpower to fight. We have already defeated them."

Fonseka is experienced enough, however, to know that even complete victory on the battlefield will not bring an end to the insurrection that has its roots in entrenched discrimination against Tamils by the country's Sinhalese majority.

"You might never be able to kill the last LTTE member," Foneska said, adding it is quite possible the Tigers could continue a terrorist insurgency for two decades or more.

That is more than likely. The Tamil Tigers invented the suicide bomb and have counted Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa and former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, among their victims.

Terrorist attacks by Tigers in the past few weeks include the machine-gunning of a civilian bus in which 24 people were killed, and the assassination of the highways minister.

Analysts say the military has the upper hand in the latest phase of the long-running war given superior air power, strength of numbers and swathes of terrain captured in the island's east.



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 Post subject: The Path to Vidattalthivu
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:35 am 
The Path to Vidattalthivu

“They started to flee leaving behind their positions. They were running faster than they ran at the time we captured the ‘Rice Bowl,” Their so-called commanders were not aware of what was going on there and were not in a position to control the demoralised cadres who had been forcibly conscripted to the outfit. The intercepted radio transmissions of the LTTE confirmed that they were totally disobeying the senior cadres and running for their lives.

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@ CDN /Friday, 18 July 2008

It was on June 29, 2008 that troops attached to the 58 Division marked a victorious move as they successfully completed Operation ‘Rice Bowl’ capturing more than 120 square kilometres in the Mannar district. But it was not the end of their operation. There was no time for the troops to rest or flash back on what they had achieved.

It was obvious that their next target was Vidattalthivu, the biggest Sea Tiger base on the Western coast with a natural harbour which cannot be detected from the sea.

Having captured the ‘Rice Bowl’ by June 29, the troops attached to the 58 division advanced four Kilometres north of the Rice Bowl area up to 12thmile post on the A-32 Mannar -Pooneryn road.

Once the troops advanced further northward they found another earth bund similar to the one inside the ‘Rice Bowl’ area from Pappamoddai to Parappakadattan. The aerial view of the earth bund showed that it ran from South of Vidattalthivu up to Piramanayankulam tank some 10 Kilometres east of Vidattalthivu.

The Southern front was created by the 581 Brigade under the Command of Lt. Colonel Deshapriya Gunwardena and 583 Brigade under the Command of Lt. Colonel Suraj Banshajaya.

The 10 Gajaba Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel. Sarada Samarakoon, 12 GR under the Command of Major Saliya Amunugama, 8 Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Colonel Suminda Jayasundera, and 6 Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Colonel Kamal Pinnawala formed the Southern front.

“We decided to get the maximum attrition to achieve the Commanders mission and we managed to kill over 100 LTTE cadres,” General Officer Commanding of the 58 Division Brigadier Shavendra Silva says while explaining the mission he had undertaken. Within ten days the troops were able to get more than 25 bodies of the LTTE cadres killed in these attritions.

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It was after the Army Commander directed that the time was ripe to capture Vidattalthivu the 58 Division began the offensive operation to capture it according to a solid plan given by the Commander as a considerable number of Tiger cadres have already perished during this 10-day period.

“Another front from the East of Vidattalthivu was formed to achieve the mission given by the Commander,” the Brigadier says.

The eastern front was created by the 2 Commando Regiment under the Command of Second In Command of the 2 Commando Regiment Major Shamal Silva in the absence of its CO Lt. Colonel Jayantha Balasuriya and by the 582 Brigade which consisted of Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Colonel Lal Chandrasiri, and 12 Gemunu Watch Under the Command of Lt. Colonel Nandana Dundunuwila.

It was after an initial attack on one selected portion of the 10 Kilometres long defence line the troops understood the fact that the LTTE cannot withstand the fire power and the aggressiveness of the soldiers who assailed the FDL.

“They started to flee leaving behind their positions. They were running faster than they ran at the time we captured the ‘Rice Bowl,” the Brigadier added.

Their so-called commanders were not aware of what was going on there and were not in a position to control the demoralised cadres who had been forcibly conscripted to the outfit.

The intercepted radio transmissions of the LTTE confirmed that they were totally disobeying the senior cadres and running for their lives.

By this time columns of troops advancing from an east to west direction were operating six kilometres behind the defence line but managed to get maximum killings targeting LTTE cadres fleeing Vidattalthivu.

As per ground confirmation a minimum of 35 to 40 Tiger cadres were killed after getting caught to ambushes laid by the troops operating east of Vidattalthivu whilst a considerable number of cadres were wounded and killed in the Southern FDL.

As the Commando troops came from east to west direction they observed dead bodies lying on the ground with vehicles and motorcycles on the site. It was on Tuesday that evening troops entered the main town of Vidattalthivu.

The continued interception of LTTE transmissions confirmed that LTTE leaders were searching for sub leaders and cadres but none of them had responded to the communications of the leaders.

Many of the Tiger cadres were mentally affected. Now the troops are dominating four kilometres south of Illuppakadavai after advancing further north of Vidathalthivu along the A-32 road.

“As per the wishes of the Secretary Defence and the Commander of the Army we will keep our military pressure on the LTTE and advance quickly to the areas they are now dominating. We as officers of a winning team in the Wanni battle are confident of victory,” Brigadier Silva remarked.
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