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Archive for July 27th, 2008

Norwegian People’s Aid – One of Norway’s biggest non-government organizations which is alleged used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for its terrorist activities is also learnt was accused of secretly smuggling in weapons for at least another insurgency in Sudan in the past, according to Ministry of Defence sources.

Several political parties in Sri Lanka, in the past, have accused the Norwegian government of using its aid outlets like Red Barna, to aid the LTTE insurgency. The Norway government has been accused of training covertly the LTTE frogmen in underwater warfare at secret locations in Thailand in the past.

This is in addition to the powerful broadcasting and military communication station the Norwegians more overtly granted the LTTE, through the clearance of the 2002-2004 government. The Norwegians working in the ceasefire-monitoring mission were alleged openly engaged in pro-LTTE activities during the Mavil Aru crisis(2006).

The website of the NGO which is currently controversial declares:
“Norwegian People’s Aid is a voluntary humanitarian organization, which has deep roots in the labor movement struggle for political freedom, social and economic freedom, equal rights and cultural growth. It is a value-based organization, which stands up for the oppressed and poor. The premise of NPA’s undertakings is based on five values: Unity, Solidarity, Human dignity, Peace and Freedom.”

According to other reports it was established in 1939 and the Norwegian intelligence services are suspected to be involved in the NGO to aid foreign insurgencies in the past.

“The Norwegian People’s Aid, earlier has been accused of smuggling in with its humanitarian aid arms, ammunition and landmines for a Sudanese insurgent group by air – a group accused of some of the worst human rights violations like the LTTE despite the group’s de-mining activities elsewhere.

“The European Sudanese Public Affairs Council charged the aid agency of supplying arms and ammunition to the insurgent group Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) :

“Norwegian People’s Aid had became involved in Sudan in 1986, and almost immediately began providing support to the SPLA, and its ‘humanitarian’ wing, the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Association.

There had always been speculation as to whether Norwegian People’s Aid was involved in the supply of war material to the southern rebels, and this documentary confirmed that NPA had for several years organised an air-bridge for the supply of weapons to battle zones within Sudan under the supervision of its Nairobi office. One of the NPA pilots involved in the gun running, Svein Kristiansen, stated, that his plane had landed at SPLA bases with some 2.5 tonnes of weapons.

It was stated that between 80-100 tons of arms were carried to the Nuba mountains and elsewhere in NPA-controlled airplanes supposedly carrying humanitarian assistance.

Another Norwegian People’s Aid pilot, interviewed by the documentary makers, related how when he began working for NPA he believed that he would be flying NPA humanitarian assistance into the Nuba mountains. He then realised that NPA was also transporting weapons, including land-mines, into Sudan:

The purpose was to fly aid, blankets, medicine, food, clothing etc. from Lokichokio up to the Nuba mountains to the people there that didn’t have anything. That was the main purpose that we served there. That was also my understanding of what we would be doing when I arrived in Lokichokio. And to my surprise we ended up flying more than just aid.

We did some other trips where we took off from Lokichokio empty, and we picked up crates, boxes, and so forth, of ammunition, weapons, and other things, and flew it up to the Nuba mountains so that they could fight the war they had going up there.

They were mostly ammunitions, and arms, also some anti-aircraft weapons. And I found out later that there was also land-mines in quite a few of the boxes.

Pressed by the interviewer on how he could be sure the cargo contained land-mines, the pilot stated that there would be papers stating what was in the cargo and how much everything weighed. The crew would check the manifest as well as the cargo to make sure it was the same weight in order to know how heavy the plane would be when it left the ground. The pilot also stated that out of curiosity he had opened up several of the boxes and had “looked in them and saw what was there”.

“The callousness shown by Norwegian People’s Aid in cold-bloodedly supplying land-mines to war zones in Sudan must be measured against NPA’s official position with regard to land-mines and their use, stating that they are a “deadly legacy killing and maiming innocents everyday”. NPA is also ostensibly committed to advocacy work with regard to land-mines, and, for example, is a member of the Coordinating Committee of the International Campaign to ban Landmines.

“The above-mentioned Norwegian documentary also provided evidence that Norwegian People’s Aid’s involvement in actively assisting and facilitating the SPLA’s military activities dated back to the 1980s. In September 1989, for example, the Norwegian Red Cross offered the International Committee of the Red Cross a large barge funded by the Norwegian government.

The barge, with a cargo capacity of up to 60 tons, arrived in July 1990 and was soon in place on the Nile. It had been intended to use this barge for the delivery of food aid by river. NPA was allowed to take responsibility for the operation of the barge. The documentary also showed that the SPLA had clearly used the river barge for military purposes, including the transport of hundreds of SPLA soldiers in order for them to engage in fighting elsewhere – all this with the active assistance of NPA.

Norwegian People’s Aid’s activities in Sudan had led to the Norwegian government commissioning COWI, an independent consultancy, to investigate NPA’s use of the considerable funds it had received from the Norwegian government.

The report, entitled Evaluation of Norwegian Humanitarian Assistance to the Sudan, documented that Norwegian and similar relief funds were being used to support SPLA soldiers, and thus prolonging the conflict. The report stated, for example, that by the early 1990s Norwegian People’s Aid:

Began to adopt more closely the aims of the SPLA and developed from 1992 a growing field presence. The report went on to state:
NPA’s intervention is that of a solidarity group. It has taken a clear side in the war. It supports the causes of SPLA/M and its humanitarian wing SRRA. NPA’s solidarity approach means that in practice the activities of NPA are closely related to the political and military strategies of the rebel movement.

“The report placed on record that Norwegian People’s Aid’s humanitarian activities were said to “support the political and military struggle of the SPLA/M”. With regard to whether the NPA was directly supplying the SPLA with food, the report stated that:
Many sources, including some within the NPA confirm that food relief has also been used to feed SPLA troops. A 1995 USAID audit, for example, revealed that in early 1995 some 200 metric tons of sorghum, valued at about US $100,000, and under NPA control, was diverted to feed SPLA soldiers.

Documentation in this example relating to the diversion of aid had been “fraudulently stamped” by SRRA officials. The report spoke of “other cases showing insufficient control”. The report stated that:
The food relief supplied by NPA has been extremely important to the SPLA which managed to sustain its position as a strong rebel movement.

The Danish media further reported that Norwegian People’s Aid had allowed the SPLA to sell emergency aid in order to purchase weapons of war.

Norwegian aid funds were also diverted to buy the SPLA food, houses and cars, and to was pay for the schooling of the children of SPLA officers.

The report also made it clear that Norwegian People’s Aid may have increased the level of tension in parts of southern Sudan.

The support of NPA to the higher levels of the SPLA has reinforced the tendency of SPLA to rely on its own external diplomacy to obtain critical resources, such as food, rather than seeking the support of the indigenous populations of the areas where it operates. There has been a marked lack of interface between the SPLA’s higher ranks and the “traditional” chiefs and governance structures of the tribes, particularly the Equatorian tribes.

“The report also examined the NPA’s position with regard to working towards a peaceful solution to the Sudanese civil war. It was stated that the NPA did not see:
The reduction of violence in the Sudan as [its] main objective. It was not considered appropriate for a “solidarity”.organisation like NPA. The cause of the SPLA, as expressed by John Garang and his leadership group, is just according to the NPA. The prevention of conflict, in this context, is entirely subordinated to the pursuit of partisan advantages.

In December 1999, Human Rights Watch stated that:
The SPLA has a history of gross abuses of human rights and has not made any effort to establish accountability. Its abuses today remain serious.

Human Rights Watch has pointed to summary executions, arbitrary arrests and food aid theft from civilians in famine areas by the SPLA. Established and respected humanitarian organisations such as CARE, Save the Children, World Vision, Church World Service and the American Refugee Committee have jointly stated that the SPLA is guilty of “the most serious human rights abuses”.

The BBC has reported growing friction in SPLA-controlled areas of southern Sudan, specifically within Didinga areas: “The Didinga have accused the SPLA of becoming an army of occupation in the area.”

These are the very areas in which Norwegian People’s Aid is active. It is obvious that NPA and the money which supports it, is helping to artificially sustain the SPLA in these and other areas of “occupation”. Without the support of external forces such as Norwegian People’s Aid, the SPLA would have had to negotiate an end to a stalemated conflict.

It is clear that Norwegian People’s Aid serves not merely as a propaganda adjunct to the SPLA, but also as an organisation willingly involved in the supply of weapons and war material to southern rebels. It nutures a deeply unpleasant organisation, and helps perpetuate Sudan’s civil war.

The activities of NPA have done a great disservice to all genuine humanitarian organisations active in Sudan. Their activities have highlighted the need for aid agencies to operate within the United Nations-managed Operation Lifeline Sudan. NPA’s military aid to the SPLA has made the Sudanese government all the more suspicious of those groups that do not.”

These accusations appeared in the website:
http://www.espac.org/norwegian_pages/norwegian_aid.asp
The website also said : “A November 1999 Norwegian television documentary, entitled ‘Weapons Smuggling in Sudan’, has highlighted the role played by some aid agencies in logistically and politically perpetuating the Sudanese civil war. The documentary clearly outlined the actions of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in supplying the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) with weapons in the course of the Sudanese civil war in the 1990s.”

(Defence.lk)
(more…)

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Why Prabhakaran became so concerned about SAARC all of a sudden and declared a unilateral ceasefire must now be clear to one and all, given the damage the LTTE has suffered during the past few days. That he could have avoided that, had the government agreed to his truce, is clear. In the past, he had managed to lure governments into truce traps and make them fight war according to his timetable. When he wanted war, he waged it and when he wanted time to regroup and rearm, he sued for peace. Thus, the conflict came to be punctuated by ceasefires at almost regular intervals, as we argued the other day.

By 2006, Prabhakaran had taken delivery of nearly a dozen shiploads of arms under the cover of a ceasefire, according to his erstwhile commander Karuna. Confident that he had enough firepower and cadres, a ceasefire-weary Prabhakaran threw down the gauntlet at Mavil Aru.

Prabhakaran may have expected the government to stop at fighting for Mavil Aru, as had been the case earlier on, so that he could drive the army away. But, that move proved to be a huge military miscalculation on his part. He let the genie out of the bottle.

Today, the LTTE is doing exactly what the army did in 1999 and 2000 in the North-running for dear life. In 1999, a series of LTTE offensives launched with the help of newly acquired small MBRLs, among other things, were so intense that the army vacated places like Oddusudan, Nedunkerni etc. in no time. Camps were crumbling like a pack of cards and the PA government did not know how to put the brakes on the LTTE`s military onslaught. The biggest debacle came in 2000, when the army lost its sprawling military complex at Elephant Pass with its big guns. The march of the LTTE had all the trappings of a cakewalk. Prabhakaran`s boys and girls reached the outskirts of Jaffna, where the army was trapped. The government did frantic shopping for arms. MBRLs were rushed from Pakistan posthaste and the Tigers stopped in their tracks.

Today, the Tigers are in a far worse predicament than the army was in 1999/2000. The army had a fallback position. In Jaffna it had about 35,000 well equipped troops. What is really staring the Tigers in their face is the fate that befell the troops trapped in the Mullaitivu camp, which was first encircled and then wiped out in 1996. Twelve years after the fall of Mullativu, on Thursday, the Navy went up to one kilometre off that place to conduct a daring raid in a show of strength.

Encirclement has a devastating impact on the morale of any military outfit. Although the LTTE still has some room left for manoeuvre, its defences are being demolished and supply routes severed. The army`s offensive to regain Mullaitivu is a frightening proposition for the LTTE, which has lost its main sea supply route and many Sea Tiger bases on the North-western coast.

The LTTE is getting beaten at its own game. The army is using its deep penetration units very effectively and the Navy deploying a large number of small craft in raids like the one on Thursday. The army long rangers became such a threat to the LTTE that the Norwegian-crafted CFA signed in 2002 had a special section debarring deep penetration operations. By that time, the army had successfully targeted the LTTE leadership. It even accounted for Prabhakaran`s right hand man, `Col.` Shankar. That attack prompted the LTTE leaders to curtail their movements and confine themselves to underground bunkers! After the signing of the CFA, the UNF government had the Athurugiriya safe house of the long rangers raided, where all their operations were planned and their weapons stored. That exposure led to the decimation of the unit at the hands of the LTTE, which also hunted down all the intelligence operatives. Now, the army long rangers are working in many parts of the Wanni again, taking as they do the Tigers by surprise.

The biggest worry of the LTTE, however, is the prospect of Kilinochchi `exploding`. In 1995, when the army closed in on Jaffna, the LTTE engineered an exodus from that township so that they could flee, taking cover behind a human shield, to Kilinochchi, where people were taken at gun point. Jaffna remained a ghost town for sometime but later people began to return.

When the Tigers find it difficult to defend Kilinochchi, they are sure to try their old tactics. But, this time around, the LTTE will have to face a very hostile populace, against whom it has perpetrated many crimes-abductions, killings, extortion, forcible conscription of children, men and women, including the old. Civilians who have been trained as auxiliaries are not psychologically or physically fit to fight an advancing army. They are sure to desert, given half a chance thus compelling the LTTE to resort to violence to make them fall in line. This is likely to ignite a rebellion in the Wanni.

Karuna, who is au fait with the LTTE`s military capability, has opined that the fall of Kilinochchi is imminent and Prabhakaran is fighting a losing battle. In the past, he has said, he used to take combatants from the East to help the Wanni leadership fight the army. Prabhakaran no longer gets reinforcements from the East.

Prabhakaran has no one to blame for his woes but himself. He, blinded by hubris, caused the 2002 ceasefire to be abrogated. Like Icarus, he chose to fly too close to the sun which melted his waxen wings. He keeps flapping his bare arms, thinking he is still winged!

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At least 13 Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed by security forces in fresh clashes in northern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said Sunday.

Soldiers killed the guerrillas in the Wanni region on Saturday, the scene of weeks of heavy fighting, the ministry said. There were no reports of government casualties.

The ministry said 19 bodies of Tiger rebels killed by security forces on Friday were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross in the north of the island Sunday to be returned to the guerrillas.

The figures bring to 5,314 the number of rebels the military says it has killed since the start of the year, when the government pulled out of a Norwegian-brokered ceasefire.

Just 464 government soldiers have died in the same period, according to ministry figures.

Casualty claims cannot be verified independently because the ministry bars journalists from visiting frontlines.

Colombo appears to be pressing ahead with its military offensive in the north despite the guerrillas’ offer of a 10-day unilateral ceasefire ahead of a South Asian meeting that started here on Sunday.

Sri Lanka is hosting a meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, which brings over 1,000 delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, as well as Sri Lanka.

(AFP)

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Troops of the 59 Division led by Brigadier Nanadana Udawatte Sunday (July 27) seized total control over ‘Sugandan’ base a satellite base of the LTTE’s ‘One-Four-base’ complex located North of Kiriibbanwewa inside the thick jungles of Mullaittiuvu, following days of heavy confrontations.

Earlier, on 30th May 2008- troops captured the ‘Munagam base’ the main logistic link between the LTTE strongholds in Wanni and cadres in the east, across the Mullaittiuvu jungle, followed by the capture of ‘Michael base’ one of the strategic satellite bases of the ‘One -Four base complex ‘ on 4th July. Troops are now consolidating the defences, sources said.

Meanwhile, an LTTE area leader identified as ‘Veandan’ was reported seriously wounded during a separate confrontation with troops operating North of Janakapura today. 5 terrorists were killed and similar numbers injured including a senior cadre ‘Maran’ during the fighting reported from 10a.m., till 1p.m., defence sources said citing ground troops. A soldier has laid his life, while another sustained injuries, in the confrontation according to initial reports.

Troops have also recovered a body of a slain LTTE cadre along with an I-com set, during a subsequent search operation conducted in the area.

Also, troops operating North of Kiriibbanwewa have reportedly destroyed and gained control over an LTTE bunker defence and a mortar pit as troops said that at least 3 terrorists were wounded in the attack. Another terrorist was killed, 2 wounded in a similar confrontation with LTTE in general area West of Kiriibbanwewa, according to military.

(Defence.lk)

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Troops of the 59 Division led by Brigadier Nanadana Udawatte Sunday (July 27) seized total control over ‘Sugandan’ base a satellite base of the LTTE’s ‘One-Four-base’ complex located North of Kiriibbanwewa inside the thick jungles of Mullaittiuvu, following days of heavy confrontations.

Earlier, on 30th May 2008- troops captured the ‘Munagam base’ the main logistic link between the LTTE strongholds in Wanni and cadres in the east, across the Mullaittiuvu jungle, followed by the capture of ‘Michael base’ one of the strategic satellite bases of the ‘One -Four base complex ‘ on 4th July. Troops are now consolidating the defences, sources said.

Meanwhile, an LTTE area leader identified as ‘Veandan’ was reported seriously wounded during a separate confrontation with troops operating North of Janakapura today. 5 terrorists were killed and similar numbers injured including a senior cadre ‘Maran’ during the fighting reported from 10a.m., till 1p.m., defence sources said citing ground troops. A soldier has laid his life, while another sustained injuries, in the confrontation according to initial reports.

Troops have also recovered a body of a slain LTTE cadre along with an I-com set, during a subsequent search operation conducted in the area.

Also, troops operating North of Kiriibbanwewa have reportedly destroyed and gained control over an LTTE bunker defence and a mortar pit as troops said that at least 3 terrorists were wounded in the attack. Another terrorist was killed, 2 wounded in a similar confrontation with LTTE in general area West of Kiriibbanwewa, according to military.

(Defence.lk)

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Despite disintegration of LTTE fortifications in Mullaittiuvu district at the doorstep of Kilinochchi, South based rejuvenated ‘defence analysts’ and ‘peaces activists’ have reportedly taken up the burden to dim the military gains through controversy and spin-doctoring.

Earlier, similar attempts to stall the military campaign in East while shoring the LTTE at defeat were proven failed and were rebuffed from gaining populace despite an array of media stunts and political gimmicks by such circles.

As learnt through reliable sources, these ‘office-room defence experts’ and guardians of ‘peace’ and ‘humanity’ are in a collective effort at smothering the public and international consent towards the present military campaign against the LTTE through periodical ushering of ‘decisive stages’ and ‘turning point’s’ installing doubts of graver repercussion in the South.

These slush propagandists are “expecting a slow down”, of the counter-terrorist operations in Wanni and North, through the same unofficial versions as quoted from said ‘officials’ of the military. Relying on controversy than sheer situation-reporting by such media stooges is nothing new, as similar attempts were also, earlier exposed by defence.lk, and will continue to remain as our obligation to the nation with the right to response.

(Defence.lk)

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Fall of Vellankulam, Thunukkai and Mallavi imminent

The plight of the LTTE is reaching the lowest ebb of its existence by the time the Security Forces completed two years in its fight against the LTTE in the fourth Eelam War.

What the Security Forces have achieved during these two years is unprecedented in the 25-year long conflict in the country.

Whatever the criticism some people are directing against the Mahinda Rajapaksa government the common masses are confident that the country would soon be free from the cancerous menace of terrorism forever, leading the country towards an era of prosperity.

That is the only hope the people are entertaining while tolerating all other difficulties which they are facing today.

As the Security Forces complete two years of offensive operations against the LTTE, they have proved their capability to fight the LTTE terrorism in the most effective manner in the 25-year-long conflict. They have proved it not only through mere statements but through action by liberating the entire Eastern province and also a two-third of the Wanni.

It was due to their dedication, commitment and firm determination to free this country from LTTE terrorism that they have won victory after victory. They went through severe hardships and faced harsh criticism by narrow minded politicians who tried to belittle their achievements for the sake of politics.

Amidst all these challenges the Security Forces were committed to their cause and reached many milestones in their efforts to defeat LTTE terrorism. The first goal they achieved was the liberation of Muttur following the LTTE offensive launched on August 02, 2006. The next was the Mavil Aru operation which was commenced on July 26, 2006.

Then they achieved the next milestone regaining the control of Sampur which was considered to the one of the impregnable Tiger strongholds in the East.

The Security Forces next regained the control of Vakarai defeating the LTTE belligerency which held the civilian population as a shield against the Security Forces. The next stage of the military operations was focused on the West and South of Batticaloa.

The Security Forces had completed the Eastern liberation operation with the capture of the entire Thoppigala area which was highlighted as one of the biggest victories by the Security Forces.

The Wanni liberation operation which was one of the challenging tasks was commenced with the formation of the 57 offensive Division.

Later, the Task Force – I was formed to open a new front from Mannar so as to flush out Tiger guerillas from the Mannar front. The 59th Division was formed in the Weli Oya front at the beginning of this year to advance towards Mullaitivu.

The latest addition to the Wanni liberation operation was the formation of the Task Force – II, to open a new battle front from the West of A-9 road in the Eastern flank of the 57 Division operating in the Vavuniya front.

As at today the Security Forces have taken the upper hand in the entire Wanni liberation front confining the Tiger terrorist only to one third of the Wanni, which consists of only Vavuniya, Mannar and Mullaitivu districts.

With the capture of Vidathalthivu, the strongest Sea Tiger base in the Western coast, and Illuppaikkadavai, the biggest Tiger base in Mannar sector by last Sunday the troops have almost regained the control of the entire Mannar district except for some few square kilometres in Vellankulam, the northern most edge of the Mannar district bordering the Kilinochchi district.

As troops attached to the 58 Division are now poised to capture Vellankulam which has been surrounded by two earth bunds, they are now reaching towards the Kilinochchi district boundary.

That would be the first time the Security Forces are touching the Kilinochchi district border in the two years-long offensive against the LTTE.

It was on last Sunday morning that troops attached to the 58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva regained the control of Illuppaikkadavai which is located in the North Western coast, depriving the LTTE of one of their strategic locations where they had their biggest base in the entire Mannar district.

It was just three days after the capture of the strategic Vidathalthivu Sea Tiger base, the Security Forces gained control of this township where a considerable number of civilian population had lived.

The commando troops backed by the infantry troops attached to the 58 Division captured this strategic town and advanced further North after two days of efforts at flushing out the Tiger cadres.

The troops attached to the 58 Division are now operating in the South and East of Vellankulam hugging the earth bund created by the LTTE covering two branches of the Pali Aru which are flowing to the sea in the South of Vellankulam.

According to the sources the LTTE is making use of the civilian population entrapped in Vellankulam to strengthen their defences against advancing Security Forces. Battles erupted in Tikkali, a village located in the South West of Vellankulam during, the past few days.

By last morning the troops attached to the 12 Gemunu Watch Battalion under the command of Lt. Colonel Nandana Dunuwila detected another earth bund in the East of Vellankulam too.

With these developments troops were due to cut off the Vellankulam, Thunukkai, Mallavi road which is the main supply route to the Vellankulam town. According to military officials this is the first time the Security Forces are going to take control of this supply route after the collapse of the LTTE resistance.

Once this supply route leading to Vellankulam is cut off, the Tiger cadres operating in Vellankulam have to depend on supplies only from the Northern direction from the Pooneryn side. Therefore, possibilities are very remote for the LTTE to hold this coastal town further as troops are operating just two kilometres south of Vellankulam.

As troops attached to the 58 Division are about to capture Vellankulam in the North Western coast further reducing the LTTE control over it, the troops attached to the 57 Division are now engaged in a tremendous task of capturing the Thunukkai and Mallavi, the second most important administrative centres of the LTTE in Wanni.

The troops attached to the 57 Division under the command of Major General Jagath Dias inflicted the maximum damage to the LTTE operating in Vavunikulam area located South of Mallavi town.

The battle in the Vavunikulam tank area was full of heroic acts of the troops who faced one of decisive counter attacks by the LTTE in their bid to rescue their area commander Pallawan who was entrapped in an ambush laid by the troops attached to the 57 Division.

The troops attached to the 57 Division and the Special Forces troops commenced this decisive battle on Wednesday in a bid to take control of the Vavunikulam tank area stretching more than ten square kilometres in the South of Mallavi.

The 573 Brigade under the command of the Brigadier Prathap Thillekeratne was entrusted with the task of liberating this area. The 7 Sinha Regiment troops under the command of Lt. Colonel Kithsiri Liyanage was also attached to the 573 Brigade to accomplish this task.

It was from Wednesday night troops attached to the 573 Brigade inducted their troops in the West of Vavunikulam tank where the tank bund and the sluice gates are located.

Fierce battle erupted in the tank bund area on Thursday as infantry troops supported by the Special Forces troops confronted the LTTE cadres operating in the tank bund area.

For the first time in the Wanni liberation operation troops were able to capture one of the 120 mm mortar launchers belonging to the LTTE along with two 80 mm mortar launchers and a haul of weapons and ammunitions.

But the most decisive moment of the Vavunikulam battle commenced in the early hours of Friday. It was Lieutenant Ranjan who detected that area leader Pallawan who was the self styled rank of ‘Lt. Colonel’ was entrapped in a ambush laid by the 7 SR troops at 3.45 am.

The Tiger cadres directed a barrage of artillery and mortar into the area in their bid to take their leader out of their area. They tried to infiltrate the defence line laid by 7 SR troops. Once they detected the Tiger cadres presence, the troops took a bold initiative to inflict maximum casualties to the Tiger cadres.

Lieutenant Ranjan fought against the Tiger cadres even after he was hit by the Tiger firing and later sacrificed his life in the battle front. Then it was Warrant Officer A.M.

Adhikari a battle-hardened soldier from Kuliyapitiya who is about to leave the Army after completing 22 years of service, took the task into his hand.

He had detected more than 30 Tiger cadres were moving towards his direction and took all their lives chasing behind them for more than two Kilometres. It was in the morning the troops launched yet another attack on Tiger cadres trying to flee from the area in a tractor.

In the morning troops collected the bodies of the Tiger cadres scattered around the Vavunikulam tank bund area and in the North of tank in the South of Mallavi.

Twenty nine bodies collected on Friday morning alone were identified as those of Tiger cadres from the Charles Anthony Brigade of the LTTE.

The troops attached to the 3 Gajaba Regiment and the 9 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment also contributed to accomplishing the task of securing Vavunikulam tank area located just two to three Kilometres south of Mallavi. According to military officials this is the first time the troops are taking control of the Vavunikulam tank area in the Mullaitivu district. The troops attached to the ‘Jaya Sikuru’ operation too couldn’t reach this location in the late 1990’s.

As troops attached to the 573 Brigade were engaged in battles in the South of Mallavi, troops attached to the 572 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Senerath Bandara launched a massive assault on the earth bund in the south of Thunukkai taking control of nearly 600 metres of the earth bund area.

They have now taken control of a village called, Weaving Gama in the South of Thunukkai. Bhanu and Lakshman who are leading the Tiger cadres operating in the area are now making a desperate bid to keep the Tiger cadres on their forward defence lines, as a tendency is now developing among them to withdraw from the area in face of the troops advancing to Thunukkai and Mallavi.

Therefore, the fall of Thunukkai and Mallavi too is imminent in the coming few days as troops who have been highly motivated by their military victories are facing any kind of Tiger offensives in the Wanni liberation operation by taking it to a decisive phase by stepping into Kilinochchi district, the heart of the LTTE within the next few days.

Therefore, anybody who had any kind of suspicion about the successes achieved by the Security Forces can have a real account of the military victories within the next few days.

(Sunday Observer)

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