Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July 4th, 2008

Evidence of LTTE plans to launch a surprise attack on the advancing 59 troops in Weli Oya was revealed in a recent capture of an LTTE recce team leader. The leader was only 17 years old, but had served in the LTTE for five years.

The Tiger cadre had arrived with 34 other cadres by sea. The LTTE has many secret routes to infiltrate the East via Kokilai and Kokkuthuduwai behind the advancing line of troops North of Janakapura and in the general area Kiriibbanwewa. The group had been tasked to recce the strength, locations etc of advancing troops from behind the SLA line and to launch small scale attacks in the rear of the 59 Division as and when necessary.

The Kokilai, Kokkuthuduwai and even Nayaru lagoons are difficult areas to defend against small landing teams. The Parangiyawaadiya area and the Parangiya-aaruwa ravine in Kokilai is a favorite landing point for LTTE units.

This area was raided for the first time recently since the 59’s operational engagement. Four 8-man teams that searched the jungle on information from the captured Recce team leader managed to uncover a boat and other equipment from this area. The 34-man team had by then escaped.

Informed sources claimed that the 59’s advance into LTTE areas is crucial but has been delayed. The delays are partly intentional so that more LTTE cadres are boxed-in, engaged and annihilated. On the other hand, the thick jungles and concentration of enemy troops have delayed the advance.

Unlike Mannar and Vavuniya, the SLA cannot use the Armoured Corps or Mechanized Infantry Units. The fighting is down to the infantrymen and their small arms. RPGs, Infantry support weapons like the 81mm mortars and Recoilless Rifles (RCL) are used extensively.

Calling in air strikes is largely ruled out and heavy artillery and MBRL fire is also obstructed by large trees and vegetation. It is in this scenario that the Army has to now watch out for LTTE recce teams, which are usually followed by a larger attack force.

(Defence Wire)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Troops operating under Task Force 1 in the Mannar- Vavuniya combined battlefront attacked an LTTE bunker defence last evening (July 3) causing heavy casualties to the terrorists.

According to the defence sources at the front, army infantrymen and elites stormed the terror bunker defence located in the area West of Periyamadhu around 1pm with the close air support of air force MI 24 helicopters. The Soldiers continued fighting with the terrorists for about 5 hours and declared the area captured around 6 pm in the evening.

Ground troops claimed 9 LTTE bunkers were destroyed. Troops are holding 7 LTTE bunkers at present, said the sources.

According to the monitored radio transmissions among the LTTE units, 17 LTTE cadres were killed and more than 25 others were wounded in this incident. However, ground troops on their observations, claimed that the actual enemy deaths and casualties should be higher than the above number.

Two soldiers were killed, 2 reported missing and 10 others suffered injuries during this battle. Clearing operations are in progress.

Meanwhile, monitored radio transmission today revealed that 7 LTTE cadres were killed during the air raid carried out by air force MI 24 helicopters last evening. The raid was carried out targeting a truck carrying LTTE terrorists detected in the South of Vedithalthivu area.

Read Full Post »

LTTE terrorists have carried out an indiscriminate claymore attack in front of Eravur Railway station around 8.10 pm today (July 03), says the defence sources. According to the sources, 3 civilians and 3 police officers have been injured in the explosion. The injured have been admitted to the General Hospital Eravur.

The bomb has been fixed onto a push bicycle parked near the station, the sources said. The police officers have been in the police jeep, which has been patrolling in the area, the sources added.

Police conducts further investigations

Read Full Post »

Nothing lends credibility to an argument or an accusation more than a first person account. Be it autobiographies or first person accounts, they are simple yet powerful. Such works also stand out for the courage, for you don’t know what the consequences will be.

So, it was with great fear that, seven years ago, Sri Lankan Tamil writer Shobasakthi wrote about his time as a child soldier with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, blowing the lid on a cruel practice of one of the deadliest and most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world.

With that book, Gorilla, translated into English earlier this year and reaching a wider audience, Shobasakthi talks about life as a refugee, his future plans, the future of Tamil Eelam and much more in this interview with Krishnakumar P.

Anushiya Sivanarayanan, who translated Gorilla, writes in her introduction that after she read the Tamil version she immediately wanted to talk to the author. Anushiya writes that she wrote in with her request for which Shobasakthi wrote back: “No English. Only Tamil,” along with his phone number.

Seven years on, in reply to the request for this interview, he wrote back: “Thank you for the interest. You can call me at…”

“I have learnt a bit,” he says, from his sister’s home in Paris. “I can speak French too,” he says. In his e-mail reply, the sender’s field read: Anthony X.

Is it with similar intent to that of Malcolm X’s?

“Nothing lofty like that,” he smiles. “Ten years ago, I had no idea what e-mail was. A friend who was then creating an e-mail account for himself, created one for me too. My name is Anthony Thasan. When the friend asked what the second name should be, I said nothing and he gave X.”

Like this, everything Shobasakthi says — about himself and things that he writes about — has the ring of coming from a man who doesn’t attach too much importance to what he says or what he is. “The Dalai Lama doesn’t shoot people who disagree with him, Prabakharan does,” he replied, for instance, to a question comparing the Tibetan leader and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader. There was no reaction time between the end of the question and the beginning of answer.

That does not mean he is a loose cannon either. He lucidly backs up all his quick-fire observations with cold logic and hard facts.

Unusual clarity coming from someone who picked up the gun at 15, had to leave his country before he was 20 and then spend the rest of his adult life as a refugee.

In Gorilla, he talks about his life as a child soldier with the LTTE.

In the book, which he calls auto fiction, Rocky Raj, who comes from a poor family, joins the LTTE as a child solider. It takes just three years for him to realize that the movement is not what it claims to be and has to face humiliation and torture in the hands of a shadowy middle-rung leader. From there the book descends into a sketchy narrative that does not explain how Raj escapes Sri Lanka and lands in France as a refugee, where as an adult — it is like watching one of those movies where they do the ’20 years later…’ thing — he sees that the scars inflicted by the strife at home will take forever to heal. Unlike most grim works of literature, Gorilla does not even offer a glimmer of hope and ends in the same ominous tone it began.

“Almost everything in the book is a fact. Some of the political events I have written are exact even to the extent of the dates mentioned. The murders are a fact. The torture is a fact. The only fictionalized parts are regarding the character of the Rocky Raj, which I wanted to embellish a bit for narrative reasons,” says Shobhasakthi.

Like Rocky, Shobasakthi was also born in a poor family. “Our family lived in abject poverty in a very backward region. I do not know from where or when, but I got interested in the Tamil nationalist movement that was taking root at that time. Following a bloody period of ethnic violence in 1983, a lot of Tamil separatist movements were born. I was with the LTTE for three years. I did things like strengthening the political outfit, bringing youngsters to the organisation and the like,” he says. But in those three years, he learnt that the LTTE is not all that it claims to be. By 1986, the LTTE had eliminated all other organizations and become the sole face of the Tamil nationalist movement. It was also this year that the party began to show up as the fascist outfit that it is, Shobasakthi says. “At that time, I did not have the kind of political clarity that I have now. I could not take the change. And most important, I never could be comfortable with the military grind. So I walked out,” he says.

After he got out, the LTTE began to hound Shobasakthi, just like it did every other renegade. Unable to take it, he escaped Sri Lanka to Bangkok.

This is a period he had left out in the book. “I wrote the novel when I was 32. It’s been seven years now. I was very scared to write about some of the things then. Those days (the 1980s) the LTTE was very powerful in European countries. They had their men everywhere. There was no refugee they could not reach. Around the time I came, they had just killed a Sri Lankan Tamil for going against them. In that fear, I left out some things in the book. Their men in Paris would beat up anyone if they as much as release a pamphlet against the Tigers. The situation was very dangerous.”

“Some of the things I omitted in the first, I wrote in the second novel Mmm… aimed at the Tamils for nodding their head and accepting everything the Tigers dished out. Now, I have written a novel called One Way. When I came to France, I was under the impression that the strife will end in a year or two and I would be able to go back to Sri Lanka. It is not so at all,” he said.

One Way talks about his years after fleeing Lanka and before reaching France. “Yes, it was not France where I landed first. I went to Thailand first and spent three years there. There was an organisation called the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They used to give us some money on a monthly basis. But what they could not offer us was any visa status. We were basically illegal immigrants, though an international organisation had us in its records. In the three years that I spent there, I was detained at least 40 times and I had to bribe my way out every single time. We were not able to earn a living even if we wanted to. Then I managed to get a fake passport and I left for France. It has been 13 years now, and some of the people who were with me in Bangkok then are still there living the same life on 3,000 baht, which is nothing in today’s world,” he says.

In the book, both the protagonist Rocky Raj and his ruffian father Gorilla, come across as uncouth people with a surprising propensity for violence and scant regard for others. “My village is like that! If you assault me, and I leave you unharmed, my mother won’t give me a meal when I get back home. It is that reality which has seeped into book,” he says.

The language of the book looks very amateurish but the thoughts are deep. For someone who hadn’t even completed his Class 10 or didn’t have much interest in reading, how does he manage that?

“I was involved in street theatre from my childhood. But I never got an opportunity to read literature. Actually, I started reading only after I came to France. When I came here, I joined a Trotskyite organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Party. That is where I picked up reading literature and political ideologies.”

When he came out of that organisation, there was a huge ideological black hole facing him. “I think that fueled my writing ambitions. I started with short stories that were published in small magazines. Then I was commissioned to do a serialized work. That was also the time I got some contacts in the literary circles of Tamil Nadu. It was through them that the chance for writing a book came along,” he says.

But if it is true that good literature stems from good reading, Shobasakthi would be an exception. “I can read only Tamil. I know a bit of French but I can’t read heavy stuff in that language. So all my reading is confined to works in Tamil,” he says.

Is he in touch with his family? And what happened to his village?

“My mother and father are in India as refugees. My village has been razed. It is just another naval base now. There is nothing else left there. My brother and sister are in Europe. It is at my sister’s place that I stay,” he says, adding that a typical day for him begins at 5:30 am. “I have to be at work by 7 am. I do the job of minding the shelves of a retail store. I keep changing jobs, sometimes up to five a year. I do such menial jobs as they give me time to do other activities. For instance, the current job allows me to leave by 1 pm. I get a lot of time to read and write after that. I also meet my friends and get together with like-minded people. Sometimes, I am really scared if my whole life will drift on, just like that…”

(Rediff.com)

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Nothing lends credibility to an argument or an accusation more than a first person account. Be it autobiographies or first person accounts, they are simple yet powerful. Such works also stand out for the courage, for you don’t know what the consequences will be.

So, it was with great fear that, seven years ago, Sri Lankan Tamil writer Shobasakthi wrote about his time as a child soldier with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, blowing the lid on a cruel practice of one of the deadliest and most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world.

With that book, Gorilla, translated into English earlier this year and reaching a wider audience, Shobasakthi talks about life as a refugee, his future plans, the future of Tamil Eelam and much more in this interview with Krishnakumar P.

Anushiya Sivanarayanan, who translated Gorilla, writes in her introduction that after she read the Tamil version she immediately wanted to talk to the author. Anushiya writes that she wrote in with her request for which Shobasakthi wrote back: “No English. Only Tamil,” along with his phone number.

Seven years on, in reply to the request for this interview, he wrote back: “Thank you for the interest. You can call me at…”

“I have learnt a bit,” he says, from his sister’s home in Paris. “I can speak French too,” he says. In his e-mail reply, the sender’s field read: Anthony X.

Is it with similar intent to that of Malcolm X’s?

“Nothing lofty like that,” he smiles. “Ten years ago, I had no idea what e-mail was. A friend who was then creating an e-mail account for himself, created one for me too. My name is Anthony Thasan. When the friend asked what the second name should be, I said nothing and he gave X.”

Like this, everything Shobasakthi says — about himself and things that he writes about — has the ring of coming from a man who doesn’t attach too much importance to what he says or what he is. “The Dalai Lama doesn’t shoot people who disagree with him, Prabakharan does,” he replied, for instance, to a question comparing the Tibetan leader and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader. There was no reaction time between the end of the question and the beginning of answer.

That does not mean he is a loose cannon either. He lucidly backs up all his quick-fire observations with cold logic and hard facts.

Unusual clarity coming from someone who picked up the gun at 15, had to leave his country before he was 20 and then spend the rest of his adult life as a refugee.

In Gorilla, he talks about his life as a child soldier with the LTTE.

In the book, which he calls auto fiction, Rocky Raj, who comes from a poor family, joins the LTTE as a child solider. It takes just three years for him to realize that the movement is not what it claims to be and has to face humiliation and torture in the hands of a shadowy middle-rung leader. From there the book descends into a sketchy narrative that does not explain how Raj escapes Sri Lanka and lands in France as a refugee, where as an adult — it is like watching one of those movies where they do the ’20 years later…’ thing — he sees that the scars inflicted by the strife at home will take forever to heal. Unlike most grim works of literature, Gorilla does not even offer a glimmer of hope and ends in the same ominous tone it began.

“Almost everything in the book is a fact. Some of the political events I have written are exact even to the extent of the dates mentioned. The murders are a fact. The torture is a fact. The only fictionalized parts are regarding the character of the Rocky Raj, which I wanted to embellish a bit for narrative reasons,” says Shobhasakthi.

Like Rocky, Shobasakthi was also born in a poor family. “Our family lived in abject poverty in a very backward region. I do not know from where or when, but I got interested in the Tamil nationalist movement that was taking root at that time. Following a bloody period of ethnic violence in 1983, a lot of Tamil separatist movements were born. I was with the LTTE for three years. I did things like strengthening the political outfit, bringing youngsters to the organisation and the like,” he says. But in those three years, he learnt that the LTTE is not all that it claims to be. By 1986, the LTTE had eliminated all other organizations and become the sole face of the Tamil nationalist movement. It was also this year that the party began to show up as the fascist outfit that it is, Shobasakthi says. “At that time, I did not have the kind of political clarity that I have now. I could not take the change. And most important, I never could be comfortable with the military grind. So I walked out,” he says.

After he got out, the LTTE began to hound Shobasakthi, just like it did every other renegade. Unable to take it, he escaped Sri Lanka to Bangkok.

This is a period he had left out in the book. “I wrote the novel when I was 32. It’s been seven years now. I was very scared to write about some of the things then. Those days (the 1980s) the LTTE was very powerful in European countries. They had their men everywhere. There was no refugee they could not reach. Around the time I came, they had just killed a Sri Lankan Tamil for going against them. In that fear, I left out some things in the book. Their men in Paris would beat up anyone if they as much as release a pamphlet against the Tigers. The situation was very dangerous.”

“Some of the things I omitted in the first, I wrote in the second novel Mmm… aimed at the Tamils for nodding their head and accepting everything the Tigers dished out. Now, I have written a novel called One Way. When I came to France, I was under the impression that the strife will end in a year or two and I would be able to go back to Sri Lanka. It is not so at all,” he said.

One Way talks about his years after fleeing Lanka and before reaching France. “Yes, it was not France where I landed first. I went to Thailand first and spent three years there. There was an organisation called the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They used to give us some money on a monthly basis. But what they could not offer us was any visa status. We were basically illegal immigrants, though an international organisation had us in its records. In the three years that I spent there, I was detained at least 40 times and I had to bribe my way out every single time. We were not able to earn a living even if we wanted to. Then I managed to get a fake passport and I left for France. It has been 13 years now, and some of the people who were with me in Bangkok then are still there living the same life on 3,000 baht, which is nothing in today’s world,” he says.

In the book, both the protagonist Rocky Raj and his ruffian father Gorilla, come across as uncouth people with a surprising propensity for violence and scant regard for others. “My village is like that! If you assault me, and I leave you unharmed, my mother won’t give me a meal when I get back home. It is that reality which has seeped into book,” he says.

The language of the book looks very amateurish but the thoughts are deep. For someone who hadn’t even completed his Class 10 or didn’t have much interest in reading, how does he manage that?

“I was involved in street theatre from my childhood. But I never got an opportunity to read literature. Actually, I started reading only after I came to France. When I came here, I joined a Trotskyite organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Party. That is where I picked up reading literature and political ideologies.”

When he came out of that organisation, there was a huge ideological black hole facing him. “I think that fueled my writing ambitions. I started with short stories that were published in small magazines. Then I was commissioned to do a serialized work. That was also the time I got some contacts in the literary circles of Tamil Nadu. It was through them that the chance for writing a book came along,” he says.

But if it is true that good literature stems from good reading, Shobasakthi would be an exception. “I can read only Tamil. I know a bit of French but I can’t read heavy stuff in that language. So all my reading is confined to works in Tamil,” he says.

Is he in touch with his family? And what happened to his village?

“My mother and father are in India as refugees. My village has been razed. It is just another naval base now. There is nothing else left there. My brother and sister are in Europe. It is at my sister’s place that I stay,” he says, adding that a typical day for him begins at 5:30 am. “I have to be at work by 7 am. I do the job of minding the shelves of a retail store. I keep changing jobs, sometimes up to five a year. I do such menial jobs as they give me time to do other activities. For instance, the current job allows me to leave by 1 pm. I get a lot of time to read and write after that. I also meet my friends and get together with like-minded people. Sometimes, I am really scared if my whole life will drift on, just like that…”

(Rediff.com)

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Nothing lends credibility to an argument or an accusation more than a first person account. Be it autobiographies or first person accounts, they are simple yet powerful. Such works also stand out for the courage, for you don’t know what the consequences will be.

So, it was with great fear that, seven years ago, Sri Lankan Tamil writer Shobasakthi wrote about his time as a child soldier with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, blowing the lid on a cruel practice of one of the deadliest and most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world.

With that book, Gorilla, translated into English earlier this year and reaching a wider audience, Shobasakthi talks about life as a refugee, his future plans, the future of Tamil Eelam and much more in this interview with Krishnakumar P.

Anushiya Sivanarayanan, who translated Gorilla, writes in her introduction that after she read the Tamil version she immediately wanted to talk to the author. Anushiya writes that she wrote in with her request for which Shobasakthi wrote back: “No English. Only Tamil,” along with his phone number.

Seven years on, in reply to the request for this interview, he wrote back: “Thank you for the interest. You can call me at…”

“I have learnt a bit,” he says, from his sister’s home in Paris. “I can speak French too,” he says. In his e-mail reply, the sender’s field read: Anthony X.

Is it with similar intent to that of Malcolm X’s?

“Nothing lofty like that,” he smiles. “Ten years ago, I had no idea what e-mail was. A friend who was then creating an e-mail account for himself, created one for me too. My name is Anthony Thasan. When the friend asked what the second name should be, I said nothing and he gave X.”

Like this, everything Shobasakthi says — about himself and things that he writes about — has the ring of coming from a man who doesn’t attach too much importance to what he says or what he is. “The Dalai Lama doesn’t shoot people who disagree with him, Prabakharan does,” he replied, for instance, to a question comparing the Tibetan leader and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader. There was no reaction time between the end of the question and the beginning of answer.

That does not mean he is a loose cannon either. He lucidly backs up all his quick-fire observations with cold logic and hard facts.

Unusual clarity coming from someone who picked up the gun at 15, had to leave his country before he was 20 and then spend the rest of his adult life as a refugee.

In Gorilla, he talks about his life as a child soldier with the LTTE.

In the book, which he calls auto fiction, Rocky Raj, who comes from a poor family, joins the LTTE as a child solider. It takes just three years for him to realize that the movement is not what it claims to be and has to face humiliation and torture in the hands of a shadowy middle-rung leader. From there the book descends into a sketchy narrative that does not explain how Raj escapes Sri Lanka and lands in France as a refugee, where as an adult — it is like watching one of those movies where they do the ’20 years later…’ thing — he sees that the scars inflicted by the strife at home will take forever to heal. Unlike most grim works of literature, Gorilla does not even offer a glimmer of hope and ends in the same ominous tone it began.

“Almost everything in the book is a fact. Some of the political events I have written are exact even to the extent of the dates mentioned. The murders are a fact. The torture is a fact. The only fictionalized parts are regarding the character of the Rocky Raj, which I wanted to embellish a bit for narrative reasons,” says Shobhasakthi.

Like Rocky, Shobasakthi was also born in a poor family. “Our family lived in abject poverty in a very backward region. I do not know from where or when, but I got interested in the Tamil nationalist movement that was taking root at that time. Following a bloody period of ethnic violence in 1983, a lot of Tamil separatist movements were born. I was with the LTTE for three years. I did things like strengthening the political outfit, bringing youngsters to the organisation and the like,” he says. But in those three years, he learnt that the LTTE is not all that it claims to be. By 1986, the LTTE had eliminated all other organizations and become the sole face of the Tamil nationalist movement. It was also this year that the party began to show up as the fascist outfit that it is, Shobasakthi says. “At that time, I did not have the kind of political clarity that I have now. I could not take the change. And most important, I never could be comfortable with the military grind. So I walked out,” he says.

After he got out, the LTTE began to hound Shobasakthi, just like it did every other renegade. Unable to take it, he escaped Sri Lanka to Bangkok.

This is a period he had left out in the book. “I wrote the novel when I was 32. It’s been seven years now. I was very scared to write about some of the things then. Those days (the 1980s) the LTTE was very powerful in European countries. They had their men everywhere. There was no refugee they could not reach. Around the time I came, they had just killed a Sri Lankan Tamil for going against them. In that fear, I left out some things in the book. Their men in Paris would beat up anyone if they as much as release a pamphlet against the Tigers. The situation was very dangerous.”

“Some of the things I omitted in the first, I wrote in the second novel Mmm… aimed at the Tamils for nodding their head and accepting everything the Tigers dished out. Now, I have written a novel called One Way. When I came to France, I was under the impression that the strife will end in a year or two and I would be able to go back to Sri Lanka. It is not so at all,” he said.

One Way talks about his years after fleeing Lanka and before reaching France. “Yes, it was not France where I landed first. I went to Thailand first and spent three years there. There was an organisation called the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They used to give us some money on a monthly basis. But what they could not offer us was any visa status. We were basically illegal immigrants, though an international organisation had us in its records. In the three years that I spent there, I was detained at least 40 times and I had to bribe my way out every single time. We were not able to earn a living even if we wanted to. Then I managed to get a fake passport and I left for France. It has been 13 years now, and some of the people who were with me in Bangkok then are still there living the same life on 3,000 baht, which is nothing in today’s world,” he says.

In the book, both the protagonist Rocky Raj and his ruffian father Gorilla, come across as uncouth people with a surprising propensity for violence and scant regard for others. “My village is like that! If you assault me, and I leave you unharmed, my mother won’t give me a meal when I get back home. It is that reality which has seeped into book,” he says.

The language of the book looks very amateurish but the thoughts are deep. For someone who hadn’t even completed his Class 10 or didn’t have much interest in reading, how does he manage that?

“I was involved in street theatre from my childhood. But I never got an opportunity to read literature. Actually, I started reading only after I came to France. When I came here, I joined a Trotskyite organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Party. That is where I picked up reading literature and political ideologies.”

When he came out of that organisation, there was a huge ideological black hole facing him. “I think that fueled my writing ambitions. I started with short stories that were published in small magazines. Then I was commissioned to do a serialized work. That was also the time I got some contacts in the literary circles of Tamil Nadu. It was through them that the chance for writing a book came along,” he says.

But if it is true that good literature stems from good reading, Shobasakthi would be an exception. “I can read only Tamil. I know a bit of French but I can’t read heavy stuff in that language. So all my reading is confined to works in Tamil,” he says.

Is he in touch with his family? And what happened to his village?

“My mother and father are in India as refugees. My village has been razed. It is just another naval base now. There is nothing else left there. My brother and sister are in Europe. It is at my sister’s place that I stay,” he says, adding that a typical day for him begins at 5:30 am. “I have to be at work by 7 am. I do the job of minding the shelves of a retail store. I keep changing jobs, sometimes up to five a year. I do such menial jobs as they give me time to do other activities. For instance, the current job allows me to leave by 1 pm. I get a lot of time to read and write after that. I also meet my friends and get together with like-minded people. Sometimes, I am really scared if my whole life will drift on, just like that…”

(Rediff.com)

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The undeclared Eelam War IV has now reached a decisive juncture as the Armed Forces have been successful in laying siege to the LTTE’s strongest Sea Tiger Base, Vedithalthivu in the North Western coast. The LTTE had always depended on the Vedithalathivu base for logistical support to the North and Wanni battle fronts, especially since it was used for unloading arms and ammunition that were brought in from Tamil Nadu.

On Monday (30), Task Force 1 which was carrying out operations in the Mannar battle front moved further towards the North East of Mannar and linked up with the 57 Division troops, who had come from the south of Periyamadu.

Both fronts linked up in parallel to a road that leads to Vedithalathivu from the A-9 road. Between the 58 Division (Mannar front) and 57 Division (Vavuniya front) there was a huge stretch of land bordering the north east of Giant Tank towards the Periyamadu area. The troops however, did not carry out any large scale military operations in this jungle area, but instead their strategy was to carry out operations in the surrounding area.

The two fronts linked up at Periyamadu, and with this operation the entire stretch came under military control which now extends from north and south of Periyamadu, up to the Giant Tank.

With this success, the troops have now, brought under their control some 148 square kilomtres of land in the Mannar district including the 120 square kilomtres of the “Rice Bowl”. Presently the military’s forward defense lines leading from Vavuniya to Mannar is more than 70 kilometers long. This has been achieved since the launch of the Mannar operation last year.

On October 7, 2007, after forming the 58 Division under the Commandership of Brigadier Shavindra Silva, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka ordered the division to launch an operation to capture the entire Mannar district up to Vedithalathivu as a first step towards proceeding to the Kilinochchi.

The initial operation was launched to capture Silawathurai area located south of the main Mannar-Anuradhapura main road. In November in the same year, troops were able to gain full control of the entire Silawathurai area confining the LTTE to the north of the Mannar-Anuradhapura road.

In December last year, plans were mapped out to take over Vedithalathivu. The strategy adopted was similar to that in the liberation of the eastern province. The military launched the operation by sending several contingents with a small number of soldiers to the enemy lines and causing heavy damage to LTTE cadres and their bunkers. The main purpose of these operations was to kill as many LTTE cadres as possible but not capture land. Another objective of the small operations was to gain control of one of the country’s large tracts of paddy lands. According to ground sources, although the military had several opportunities to capture strategically important camps on many occasions, the troops did not immediately capture them, but adopted a wait and see policy before launching  a massive onslaught against a large number of LTTE strongholds.

Due to this strategy, on an average more than 20 LTTE cadres were killed almost daily and a large number of others were injured.

Three Brigades-581,582 and 583 commenced their operations from Manthai towards Thirukesthiswaram, Palakkuli and Uyilankulam- Parappakandal areas and in less than two months they gained full control of these areas.

Since then, the military has captured several strategically important LTTE held areas including Alankulama, Andankulama, Alakaddiveli, Parappakandal, Parappukadatan, Papamoddai, Odupallam, Neduvarampu, Kannaputtukulama and Vannakulama.

On May 9 soldiers captured Adampan town after weeks of fierce fighting in the area. On June 24 troops dominated areas in north of Adampan -Mullikkandal, Minnaniranchan and Marattikannaddi.

On June 29 afternoon the army took total control over the entire Mannar ‘Rice Bowl’ area denying the terrorists its main and heavily fortified defenses on the Mannar front. The total area brought under control is approximately 120 square kilometers, which mainly consists the country’s most fertile paddy fields. Statistics show, that the biggest paddy harvest in 1991 came from the “Rice Bowl” in Mannar.

The capture of the Mannar ‘Rice Bowl’ and adjacent areas has denied the LTTE 12 kilometres of the A-32 Mannar- Pooneryn main road, in addition to the Uyilankulama – Adampan and Uyilankulama – Andankulama main roads, considered as the LTTE’s main supply routes from the North.

According to Brigadier Shavindra Silva, General Officer Command 58 Division, quoting monitored LTTE transmissions, some 2058 LTTE cadres were killed and 1208 cadres injured since the fighting broke out in the Mannar district in September last year. However he said that according to ground troops approximately 2243 cadres had been killed.

Among them, self styled 26 Lt. Colonels, 85 Majors and 99 Captains of the LTTE were killed during this period.  Also159 civilians in the uncleared areas have sought military protection in the Mannar district during this same period.

Drama as VVIP helicopter hit by fire

On Tuesday Morning, a fleet of VVIP Bell 412 helicopters of the Sri Lanka Air Force, escorted by Mi-24 helicopters departed from Colombo carrying President Mahinda Rajapaksa, senior government ministers and a delegation from the US Embassy.

The destination was Arugam Bay, where the President was scheduled to declare open the USAID sponsored Arugam Bay Bridge. The new bridge replaced the earlier bridge that was damaged following the Tsunami in 2004.

It was around 11 am that the VVIP helicopter fleet landed at the Arugam Bay area, where Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) was present to welcome the President. Soon after the landing the President participated at the opening ceremony and thereafter held discussions with the area government officials including Mr. Chandrakanthan. In the meantime, a helicopter had gone for refuelling to the nearby Uhana Air Force Camp. Once the helicopter was refuelled, it took off back to Arugam Bay flying over thick jungle areas. When the chopper was flying over Kanchikichchiaaru area, located some 5-10 kilomtres west of Sangamankanda Point, the two pilots on board felt an unusual movement of the helicopter as if something had hit one of its’ fuel tanks. They both figured that it might be a small arms fire from the ground and informed the nearby air force base about the incident as they hurriedly proceeded towards Arugam bay.

At the same time, Air Force Headquarters in Colombo also alerted the heads of the Presidential Security Division. On the way the pilots noted that there was a leakage of fuel from one of the fuel tanks and asked the nearby air force base for permission to make an emergency landing at the grounds of the Potuvil School. Soon after the landing, the pilots inspected and found that the choppers fuselage was drilled by a few bullets resulting in the loss of fuel in mid-air. The chopper had been shot at least three times on one of its fuselages using a Multi-Purpose Machine Gun while it was flying over Kanjikudichchiaaru.

Initially the Air Force claimed that one of VVIP helicopters assigned for the Presidential function had to make an emergency landing due to a technical fault. Hours later, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said a Bell 412 helicopter had made an emergency landing at Arugam Bay due to a sudden loss of fuel detected by the pilots. Later, it was found that the helicopter had been hit with few gunshots. The Air Force suspects that the helicopter had been fired upon while it was on its way to Arugam Bay.

Also, the MCNS said that the helicopter had been deployed for logistics movements in connection with the opening ceremony of the newly constructed Arugam Bay Bridge. It had been returning to Arugam Bay after being refuelled at Ampara, the MCNS further said.

The 412 is used for VIP transport while the 212 is used for troop transport. Following the conclusion of the Presidential event at Arugam Bay, the remaining VVIP helicopters with President Rajapaksa and other delegates flanked by several Mi-24 helicopters returned to Colombo using a different route.

Soon after the incident, at least four mortar shells fell on the Sengamwewa STF camp on the same day. The military said that suspected LTTE cadres fired mortars at the STF camp from Kanjikudichchiaaru jungle.

(Daily Mirror)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Advertisements