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Military Matters


 

 Delhi silent about Karunanidhi’s claim

The increasingly desperate situation facing the LTTE has again galvanized them to exert fresh pressure on New Delhi in that direction. Hence Tamil Nadu Chief Minister claiming that Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee would now come to Colombo to discuss a ceasefire arrangement. But up to yesterday there was no official intimation of any such high level visit from New Delhi

It is now truly a “do or die” situation for the LTTE with security Forces aiming for their vital points, namely Kilinochchi, Paranthan, Mulaitivu, and Elephant Pass, and they being forced to put everything at their disposal to protect those areas

 

Despite Islamic fanatics striking terror in Bombay late last month, blunting the attempts of Tiger  proxies across the Palk Strait to force Indian intervention here once again on their behalf, the increasingly desperate situation facing the LTTE has again galvanized them to exert fresh pressure on New Delhi in that direction. Hence Tamil Nadu Chief Minister claiming that Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee would now come to Colombo to discuss a ceasefire arrangement. But up to yesterday there was no official intimation of any such high level visit from New Delhi

It is now truly a “do or die” situation for the LTTE with security Forces aiming for their vital points, namely Kilinochchi, Paranthan, Mulaitivu, and Elephant Pass, and they being forced to put everything at their disposal to protect those areas.

Therefore with the ceasing of rains from late last week, the fighting without doubt is bitter, with the LTTE unable to afford to let any of these areas  fall to the Security Forces, as that would only expedite the fall of its few other remaining strongholds.

In this scenario, intelligence has stumbled on some intriguing information about four white skinned doctors serving in the Ponnambalam Government hospital in Mulaitivu. As no INGO workers are permitted to be in LTTE held areas, since all of them were ordered to relocate to Vavuniya in October, this piece of news is truly surprising.

Intelligence has also found that with the fall of Pooneryn, the Sea Tiger resources there has been shifted to Vettilaikerny and Thalladi, strengthening their positions in these two sea landing points on the northeastern coast.

Notable successes

Despite some heavy exchanges taking place in virtually all fronts this week, Security Forces notched up some notable successes. On the Northeastern coast, 11th Regiment of the Gemunu Watch coming under the 59th Division commanded by Brig. Nandana Udawatte, captured the Sea Tiger stronghold at Alampil with minimum of casualties on Thursday. They were supported by 14th Wijeba Infantry Regiment commanded by Maj. Vipul Weerakoon.

In this operation to take Alampil the 11th GW troops had been led from the front by their commander Lt. Col. Priyanka Fernando. Lt. Col. Fernando leading his men in battle brought them some unexpected bonanzas as they outflanked the LTTE defenders by cutting them off from much of their northern escape routes. This lightning strike forced the defenders to flee in a hurry mainly by sea, leaving behind some 130 fibreglass boats. Their departure had been very hasty, not leaving them any time even to destroy the boats that were left behind. The victorious troops also recovered 560 rounds of live ammunition, one motor cycle and one outboard motor from the area.

Ambushes

Tigers had not even attempted to truck the boats to Mulaitivu on the last remaining coastal road open to them apparently fearing ambushes.
The Seventh Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Col. Chaminda Lamahewa, which captured the Thunukkenikulam area are advancing towards Mulliyaweli. Also in the northeast the 59-1 Brigade took control of the strategically important Otiyamalai last Saturday. It was followed by the capture of the village of Periyakulkam, one kilometre west of Otiyamalai on Tuesday morning.

Confrontations

On the same day there were seven different confrontations between Tigers and troops of the 59 Division in the Andankulam area. Following these confrontations and the capture of six LTTE trenches, its troops recovered 65 anti-personnel mines, one RPG gun, one T-81 weapon and one 40mm grenade launcher.

This week saw Maj Gen Jagath Dias returning to command the 57 Division spearheading the drive to capture Kilinochchi. Under his command the 57-4 Brigade headed by Lt. Col. Senaka Wijesuriya liberated the entire Kokavil area after heavy fighting last Sunday evening, and since then took control of the entire stretch of the A-9 Highway from Mankulam to Kokavil.

Meanwhile the Eighth Light Infantry and the Tenth Light Infantry coming under the same Brigade captured the west bank of the Iranamadu tank.

As the 57-4 Brigade advanced its positions by some five kilometers, the 63-2 Brigade coming under Task Force 111 advanced from Pannikulam Forest covering a distance of four kilometers and linked up with 57-4 Brigade at Iranamadu Tank.

The Task Force 111 under the command of Brig. Sathyapriya Liyanage also captured the  Pulipanvikulam village and was advancing towards the old Kandy Road.

With the LTTE losing its hold on the A-9 the Tigers have begun building a bunker line to cover the old Kandy Road. But troops are now poised to take this old road as well, thus depriving another major supply route to the terrorist organisation.

Fall

This week also saw the fall of Mannakulam village to the troops of Task Force 11 under the command of Brig. Rohana Bandara. During the Jayasikuru Operation, Commando Major Jayanath Ginimellage and his men of the  Second Commando Regiment fought the Tigers till their very end at this village.

Puliyankulam too fell into the hands of Task Force 11. It is a key junction on the A-9. The old Kandy Road leading to Nedunkerny begins here. This town also served as the headquarters of the Tiger tax collection division on the A-9. Troops advancing from here were in the process of capturing Kanagarayankulam yesterday.

With the troops completing the recapture of A-9 from Kokavil to Omanthai, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka visited the area on Wednesday. During the Jayasikuru  Operation that lasted three years the Army could not advance beyond Mankulam, but now within a short span of time the present Commander has ensured the Army’s advance  beyond that point.

His secret of success appears to be that each unit is given one task at a time per week, and there is no chance of any secrets leaking in advance to the enemy as all operational plans are in his head and he knows the Northern terrains like the back of his hand.

New attack force

Meanwhile Deputy Commander of 59 Division Col. Nishantha Wanniarachchi has been appointed to command the new fighting unit designated Task Force 1V scheduled to enter battle in Wanni soon. Military Secretary Maj. Gen. Deepal Alwis issued orders on Monday under his signature, also appointing Lt. Col. Priyantha Wijegunawardena as the Colonel General Staff of this force. Similarly two Brigades coming under this Force 64-1 and 64-2 were placed under the command of Lt. Col. Jayampathy Bandara and Lt. Col. Randula Hathnagoda.Smuggle

With the entire West coast from Mannar to Jaffna being under the Army, only the north eastern coast is left for the LTTE to smuggle in desperately needed arms to replenish those now fast depleting. Troops are still being hit with artillery and mortars it had earlier managed to smuggle in.

In the past two and a half years that the Forces have fought the Eelam War 1V, 14,000 soldiers have been wounded. According to army headquarters statistics 12,000 of them were injured as a result of mortar and artillery attacks.
Lt. Gen Fonseka points out that the victories won by his men were no flukes, but achieved through much bravery and sacrifice.

****

 

 


WANNI OPERATIONS: UPDATE ON DECEMBER 6TH

 

        Unsung war hero      

It must be said that one of the key reasons for the LTTE suing for peace and declaring a unilateral ceasefire in 2001 was the terrible toll the deep penetration units of the Army led by officers of the caliber of Lt. Col. Jayasinghe were exacting from the LTTE leadership.

His last rites were performed in Avissawella last Monday amidst one of the largest gathering of mourners ever seen in that town. What was most significant was that a large number of Tamil estate workers were among the mourners

Last Sunday we were the first English language newspaper to announce the death of war hero Maj. Lalith Jayasinghe (posthumously promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel). He was killed in action on November 26, while taking part in a daring deep penetration operation behind enemy lines, with a seven man team some 28 kilometres north of Oddusudan.
The LTTE web sites have already announced that Lt. Col. Jayasinghe was the officer responsible for killing a number of their top leaders in daring operations, including founder of the Sea Tigers and its air wing Col. Shanker (alias Sornalingam) in September 2001, its intelligence leader Charles killed in January this year, and Sea Tiger Deputy Leader Kangai Amaran in June 2001.
It must be said that one of the key reasons for the LTTE suing for peace and declaring a unilateral ceasefire in 2001 was the terrible toll the deep penetration units of the Army led by officers of the caliber of Lt. Col. Jayasinghe were exacting from the LTTE leadership.
His last rites were performed in Avissawella last Monday amidst one of the largest gathering of mourners ever seen in that town. What was most significant was that a large number of Tamil estate workers were among the mourners.
Though Lt. Col. Jayasinghe struck fear into the Tiger leadership with his daring attacks, with ordinary Tamils amidst whom his family lived in Avissawella, he was a very popular figure. His father is the estate clerk of Farnham Estate.  In this estate out of 460 families, their family was one of only ten Sinhala families there, all others being Tamil. When ever he came home, he would give a ride in his vehicle to any estate employee found walking, despite him being a gazetted officer.
Lt. Col. Jayasinghe’s brother is also in the Special Forces and had been just discharged from hospital after recovering from a battle field injury, and on his way to the battle-field once again, when this tragic news was received.

Risking

The two brothers had been risking their lives for the country on numerous occasions; yet anyone visiting Lt. Col Jayasinghe’s house easily realises he had not made anything for himself, for he and his recently married wife, who is now five months pregnant. lived in a modest rented house.
From his father’s EPF funds he had managed to buy a half a building plot and he had mortgaged that half to a bank to buy the other half. When he got married ten months ago, they had tried to renovate the estate house given to his father as his quarters for the wedding, but the Estate Superintendent had objected to any improvements.
We reproduce below excerpts of the report on Lt. Col Jayasinghe given by his American Course officer after he successfully completed the Infantry Officers’ Basic Course (IOBC)  at Ft Benning Georgia, USA, having been handpicked for it by Army Commander Lt. Gen Fonseka.
“Capt Lalith performed exceptionally well, bringing credit to both himself and his country and earning the respect of his peers. CPT Lalith was a remarkable student. He is the most physically fit international student I have had the pleasure of working with. Additionally, he volunteered to compete in the company ‘Iron Man’ competition where he was placed 10th out of the 34 toughest lieutenants in the company. 

Dedication

“His dedication and commitment to his profession were evidenced by his superior work ethic. . He always looked for ways to improve himself, his peers, and his Army, upon returning. CPT Lalith excelled in all phases of the course. This was evidenced by his outstanding performance in several leadership positions during platoon operations. He passed the Army Physical Fitness Test, placed 10th out of 156 lieutenants during the 5 mile run, and also placed in the top 10 during the company 2.5 mile equipment run. Throughout the course CPT Laith shared his experience with his peers and aided their development as leaders.
“It has been an honour being CPT Lalith’s instructor and I would proudly serve with him as an ally in the future, and enjoy learning from him.
I highly recommend CPT Lalith for further attendance at U.S. Army Schools “.

Best course reports
 Retired Brigadier C.S.N.B. Mudannayake, who is now employed by the US embassy in Colombo, and who had a hand in selecting Jayasinghe for the Ft Benning course, told his friends in an e-mail that in his 11 years of defence work at the embassy, Jayasinghe came back with one of the best course reports he had seen during that entire period.
Brig Mudannayake who attended the funeral on Monday said the entire Awissawella town was shut down by the public as a mark of respect to this brave officer.

****