Only two towns remain in Tiger hands

With the LTTE held territory now reduced to less than 230 square kilometres and any chance of them making dramatic recovery almost non-existent, the Army has begun blaring through loud hailers and Tiger radio channels calls to remaining Tiger cadres to surrender explaining to them that it is a futile exercise to fight the Army any further.

This tactic was widely used by the enemy against the Sri Lanka Army in the past and the two sides had been shouting filth at each other in ensuing verbal exchanges. But the badly beaten LTTE cadres no longer shout back filth, but instead listen silently, security sources said.

They said the LTTE has also been silent on the President’s as well as international calls for them to allow trapped civilians to go to places of safety.

In this vastly reduced territory still held by the LTTE, sources said only two strongholds remain to be overcome. They are the Sea Tiger Base at Chalai and the town of Pudukuduyirippu, where the main Tiger checkpoint is located and where many civilians are prevented from escaping to safe government controlled areas. It is also where the Tigers are holding 17 local staff of the UN and 78 of their dependents from coming to Vavuniya for more than a week.

This week the 59 Brigade that captured Mullaitivu town after 13 years, was advancing along the Mullaitivu beach towards Chalai, while 55 Division, which last week captured the coastal Tiger base of Chundikulam is also marching towards this last major Sea Tiger base from the north.

The 57 and 58 Brigades that entered Vishvamadu Town were proceeding towards Pudukuduyirippu entrapping the LTTE terrorists in their last bastion.

The Task Force 111 is advancing further up from the area between Kolamadukulam to Udayarkattukulam.
The Task Force 11 and the Task Force IV are advancing to Pudukuduyirippu from the east of the Task Force 111. They are only about one kilometre from Pudukuduyirippu.

The Task Force 11, 111 and IV and the 59 Division are approaching A-35 Highway.
The 58 Brigade under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva, proceeding along the A-35 Highway and from the north of it, captured Vishavamadu Junction on January 26. They captured an area of eight sq.km. and recovered four bulldozers, two backhoes, and many other vehicles including 10 tractors.

The 11th Light Infantry Regiment that entered Vishawamadu were advancing when the 10th Gajaba, 17th Gemunu , 7th Singha, 6th Gemunu, and 9th Gemunu regiments captured the areas between the A-35 Highway and the Jaffna Lagoon, including Pulimpokkanai until they were about two kilometres from the eastern beaches.

The 58 Brigade that released an area of 85 kilometres on the western coast from Mannar and proceeded beyond Pooneryn, Paranthan, Elephant Pass, Murusamodai and Vishavamadu has now only two kilometres to reach the eastern coast. The 58 Brigade has also accounted for the largest land area captured by any brigade.

The 10th Gajaba Regiment under Major Janaka Udovita of this Brigade recovered a 152mm artillery gun and 70 empty shells. It was the first time that such a heavy weapon was recovered during the Wanni battle. Similar weapon had been recovered earlier from Toppigala area.

Meanwhile, a small group of Commandos of the 58 Division attacked a tractor transporting LTTE cadres gunning down five of them at Puliyapokkanai on Thursday. Another Tiger riding a motorcycle at the time was also gunned down. The LTTE cadres who came to retrieve their casualties came under multi-barrel and artillery fire.

“Kill them off and damn with motherland, “said an intercepted LTTE message during this encounter. Another LTTE message said “dress the wounded by even tearing the sarongs.” This was a clear indication of the state the LTTE has fallen into.
It has also been revealed that several senior LTTE leaders had either died or injured in action and that the LTTE ‘Lieutenants Colonel’ Koby Master and Shantha Kumar had been among those killed in clashes.

The civilians from the Wanni said that Bhanu, a leading battlefield commander, was injured. The pro-LTTE website Puthinam revealed that Prabhakaran’s Chief Advisor and former EROS Leader V. Balakumaran too had been seriously injured.

It is understood that the LTTE cadres are mingling with the civilians to desert and that arms and ammunition are being buried.
The security forces were hopeful that most probably the Wanni battle would reach its last lap this week and the LTTE would give up the fight.

Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka who visited the Wanni studied the progress of the military operations and issued instructions for the final battle. Commander of the Security Forces in the Wanni, Major General Jagath Jayasuriya continues to coordinate seven brigades engaged in the Wanni battle.