Tigers face defeat on all
LTTE despite all its bravado that the Government is merely day dreaming
of capturing its de facto capital Kilinochchi, is heading for defeat on
all fronts: but it is far from finished, and is in vain sacrificing its
cadres in continuing to fight mostly one sided battles.
While the Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran throws all his reserves
of hardcore units into battle now to halt the Security Forces march, he
is at the same time counting on Tamil Nadu pressure to force an Indian
intervention of some sort here once again, to save it from the ignominy
of total defeat.
If it is more battles he is looking for with his bravado, then he has
more than his match in Army Commander Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka. Amidst
some heavy fighting this week he is now raising a fifth fighting Task
Force to put into battle in the coming weeks. It will also be the army’s
ninth attacking force entering battle against the enemy.
It was only in the previous week that the Army Headquarters finalised
arrangements to raise its Fourth fighting Task Force. Once the newly
formed Task Force IV headed by Col. Nishantha Wanniarachchi is deployed
in Mulaitivu in the coming days, to supplement 59 Division already
battling LTTE there, the latest fighting Task Force V, now being formed
too will enter battle.
The Army Commander has designated Col. Athula Galagamage as the
Commander of the Task Force V. Commander of the 11th Gemunu Regiment Lt.
Col. Priyanka Fernando and Commander of Seventh Light Infantry Regiment
Lt. Col. Ranjith Abeyratne have been picked as its Brigade Commanders.
Col. Galagamage till now was serving with the 56 Division deployed at
There were also some key changes in some frontline commands this week.
Special Forces Lt. Col. Harendra Ranasinghe who has been serving as the
Staff Colonel of the Task Force 1 from its inception, took over as the
57-1 Brigade Commander, and Col G.V. Ravipriya who has commanded 57-1
from its inception, took over as Mannar area Commander. Mannar area
Commander Brig. Channa Gunatillake assumes the Command of 56 Division
from Maj. Gen. Jagath Rambukpotha, who is proceeding to India to attend
the National Defence College there.
fighting broke out on Wednesday as the Army advanced towards
Killinochchi from several directions and the exchanges that began at
10:00am continued non stop for another 24 hours. The heaviest fighting
took place at Pudumuruppukulam, west of Killinochchi town and south of
Adampan. Later the fighting spread right along the defensive line put up
by the LTTE to defend Kilinochchi.
The Air Force too engaged Tiger positions non stop in support of the
Using the familiarity of the ground to their advantage, the Tigers
virtually cornered the Seventh Light Infantry Regiment with a heavy rain
of mortar and artillery fire. The regiment lost the lives of 22 of its
men as a result, including 12 men who fell into Tiger hands. Another 30
soldiers were injured.
Intercepted LTTE communications have indicated their losses at 27 killed
and 31 wounded. But the pro-Tiger website Tamilnet placed the army death
toll in two days of fighting (Wednesday and Thursday) at 120 killed and
280 wounded, while keeping totally silent about their own casualties.
Tigers had also put on display bodies of 12 soldiers who fell into their
hands in the areas they control, in order to boost the morale of their
Whatever the Tiger claims, the Eighth Infantry Regiment, the 10th
Infantry Regiment and 16th Sinha Regiment coming under 57-4 Brigade led
by Lt. Col. Senaka Wijesuriya smashed a three kilometer stretch of the
Tiger trench-cum-bund defence line from Akkarayan to Therumurukandi this
week and advanced another four kilometers.
Meanwhile troops of the 57 Division who are moving towards fighting the
final battle to take Kilinochchi and Iranamadu, did so this week amidst
heavy rains once again, facing immense difficulties because of the
Tigers also lost a large number of cadres in trying to take on troops
preparing to break through their defence line from Adampan Town. Lt.
Col. Jayampathy Bandara led 12th Sinha Regiment troops killed 30 Tiger
cadres in this battle. Maj. Sujeewa Perera is the second in Command of
Tigers launched the first attack in this area at 3:00 a.m. last Sunday
taking on 16th Infantry and 17th Infantry, while these two regiments
were battling the attackers; the 12th Sinha came forward and engaged the
attackers. Waves of Tiger attacks were beaten back in this manner till
8:00 p.m. that night.
These attacks were directed by its Special Leader of the Imran Pandiyan
Force identified as Welawan Master and a Leader of Charles Anthony Force
identified as Gopi. For these attacks Tigers had brought in cadres from
Nagarkovil and Elephant Pass. Fortunately for troops only three were
killed in these clashes.
Due to strategic counter measures adopted by the 57 Division, Tiger
leaders who led the attacks had pleaded with their commanders that they
could not make any headway. While these waves of attacks were taking
place, air strikes and multi-barrel rocket fire also neutralized Tigers
massing on several locations to launch fresh waves of attacks.
The attackers had been further handicapped by their inability to
evacuate injured expeditiously due to shortage of transport.
Similarly Brig. Shavendra Silva led 58 Division (Task Force 1) advanced
along the Pooneryn-Paranthan road traversing the flooded road and the
surrounding open terrain also under water. The Fifth Armoured Corp and
the infantry regiments operating under this Division kept hammering at
the six kilometer long Tiger trench-cum-bund defence line facing them.
The 55 and 53 Divisions, which captured the Tiger first defence line at
Jaffna few weeks back, this week, resumed probing operations to
breakthrough the second LTTE defence line at Muhamalai and Nagarkovil.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief
Marshal Donald Perera and Army Commander Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka, who
visited Wanni Command Headquarters on Thursday and conferred with all
senior commanders of units serving in Wanni, also assessed the ground
situation with Wanni Commander Maj. Gen Jagath Jayasuriya and other top
The Defence Secretary while praising the victories notched up by the
forces, also conveyed President Rajapaksa’s good wishes to them. Later
the trio also visited Jaffna and met with Jaffna Commander Maj. Gen G.A.
Chandrasiri and rest of the top brass in the peninsula, where again the
ground situation was evaluated.
The Task Force 111 commanded by Brig Sathyapriya Liyanage also continued
their drive amidst heavy rain. Lt. Col. Priyantha Perera led 63-1
Brigade now has advanced some four kilometers beyond Olumadu on A-34
route and were in the process of capturing Kuruppamaddimuruppu Junction.
About three kilometers north of this junction, Lt. Col. Subashana
Welikala led 63-2 Brigade completed the capture of the Old Kandy Road.
The 20th Sinha Regiment belonging to this Brigade engaged the Tiger
defence line north of Olumadu and successfully overcame a number of LTTE
targets there on December 5. Later it repelled several waves of counter
attacks by Tigers to dislodge them, and in the process killed more than
26 attackers. They even managed to recover bodies of 11 Tiger cadres and
13 assault rifles and a radio communication set.
As the Commanding Officer of this regiment Lt. Col. Dharshana Wijesekera
was on leave, the entire responsibility of leading its troops in these
clashes fell on the shoulders of his deputy Maj. Priyantha Liyanage. He
was assisted by Maj. Aruna Wijesinghe in carrying out operations. But
unfortunately for Maj. Liyanage, later while moving among his troops, he
stepped on an anti-personnel mine and lost a leg.
The LTTE is said to be building a new defence line to prevent 63-2
Brigade, which is now heading towards Ampakamam, from capturing their
main runway at Iranamadu. This runway is situated some six kilometres
from troops of this Brigade. As the troops were advancing in the
direction of the runway, Forces have established that a Tiger light
aircraft had taken off on Thursday at about 7:15 p.m. and flown towards
Kilinochchi, prompting the Forces to be put on alert.
Meanwhile one of Tiger diversionary teams who are involved in hit and
run operations in the East, were confronted by an Army Commando team at
Kanjikudiaru. The Tiger terror team headed by Nagulan, was successfully
engaged by the commandos killing four of them, and causing injuries to
the leader and three others. What is most shocking is the fact Nagulan’s
team comprising some 25 cadres was caught up by the commandos only some
500 metres from a Police Special Task Force base.
According to available intelligence, about 50 Tigers under the command
of Tiger leaders Nagulan, Umaram, Raguwan and Kalaimaduran had been
deployed to cause havoc in Yala and eastern regions.
In addition to staging terror attacks, they have been tasked with
reactivating Tiger cadres, who turned civilian with the fall of
Toppigala after burying their weapons.