FIGHTING DELAYS FINAL VICTORY
Intense fighting erupted in Pudukudyiruppu this week,
with troops forced to fight house to house, in order to clear the last
53 Division under Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne, Task Force VIII under Col.
G.V. Ravipriya, and 58 Division under Brig. Shavendra Silva, are engaged
in the final battle to liberate Pudukudyiruppu.
Meanwhile, 55 Division under Brig. Prasanna de Silva, that proceeded
from Chalai, broke into Pudumathalan North after intense fighting.
Only 21 sq. km. area is left to battle by Friday. The Security Forces
(SF) had only 39 sq. km. area, including the 18 sq. km. neutral ‘Safe
Zone’ for civilians, that needs to be brought under their sway.
The SF, by Tuesday (3), captured Pudukudyiruppu junction, in the only
town still under the LTTE.
Troops advance slowly but surely
The three Army groups entered the town on Tuesday morning, amid heavy
53 Division and Task Force VIII were advancing on the town south of A-35
route. 58 Division is advancing from the North of A-35.
After three days of intense fighting, troops of 12 Gajaba Regiment (GR)
and the 1 GR of 53 Division and Task Force VIII, linked up in the heart
of town on Tuesday morning (3).
Bravo Company under Capt. Sampath Ranatunga and Charlie Company under
Lt. Gamini Bandara of 12 GR under Maj. Saliya Amunugama, entered the
town around 9 a.m.
Troops of 1 GR under Lt. Col. Sarath Aluvihara, entered the town centre
from south of Pudukudyiruppu.
The advancing troops met with heavy resistance fromy the enemy. 1 GR of
the 68-1 Brigade under Lt. Col.l Lalantha Gamage, and 4 GR under Maj.
Rohitha Aluvihara, proceeded from the South of Pudukudyiruppu. The two
regiments recovered bodies of seven terrorists and 10 weapons on
Meanwhile, troops of 68-2 Brigade under Lt. Col. Subhashana Welikala,
liberated a semi-open area west of Nandikadal lagoon, through a
strategic attack on Thursday (5),- and advanced about 3 km.
It was revealed that, the bodies of the LTTE cadres killed during
confrontations in Pudukudyiruppu town, were found buried there itself.
Hundreds of such bodies were recovered from shallow graves by the
The SF fighting in the urban areas of Pudukudyiruppu, had advanced about
4 km in 10 days and had only 4 km more to pass, to complete the capture
of the difficult built-up area. If not for the civilian shield, the area
could have been captured within hours through devastating artillery and
multi-barrel fire. At present, only identified LTTE targets are engaged
by the troops in these areas.
Troops backed by armour and RPG fire, are taking on Tigers holed up in
reinforced concrete bunkers and fortified houses. The 5th Armoured Corp
under Lt. Col. Nihal Samarakoon, has been engaging enemy targets day and
LTTE leaders’ families held hostage
With certain defeat facing them, intercepted LTTE messages reveal that
the LTTE leaders are under intense mental strain, by the ongoing battle.
“I am prepared to do anything. Please send those of my family to a
government controlled area,” was the plea of a junior LTTE leader to his
superior, overheard by the SF.
It has been established that the LTTE leadership has taken hostage
family members of Tiger leaders deployed to fight in the Wanni
In another intercepted Tiger radio communication, LTTE military leader
Lawrence was heard shouting at his juniors in abusive language, ordering
them to go after civilians fleeing by sea and kill them.
However, 180 civilian who fled from Pudumathalan area by sea, arrived at
Chundikulam, Kaddaikadu and Vetthilaikerni, and surrendered to the SF
Meanwhile 58 and 55 Divisions foiled the LTTE’s plan to send a group of
cadres posing as civilians, to break into the military forward defence
line in the Pudumatalan area, as they got a wind of the Tiger plot on
Wednesday night(4). Judging from enemy movements, Military intelligence
had warned that the LTTE was preparing for an attack.
In the early hours of the following day (5), the SF saw a large crowd
moving towards the southern boundary of Chalai, where 58 and 55
Divisions meet. When it was established that a group of Tigers mingled
with civilians, were coming for an attack, the SF fired several rounds
of artillery in their path and not at the crowd, to avoid civilian
As expected, the civilians fled for their dear lives, while the
terrorists captured eight bunkers in the area, where the 55 and 58
Divisions met. This included seven bunkers of the 11th Artillery
Regiment under Lt. Col. Pradeep Perera of 58 division and another of the
8 Vijayaba Regiment under 55 Division.
Echo Company under Maj. Shah Hameed of the 2nd Commando Regiment
attached to 58 Division under Lt. Col. Jayantha Balasuriya and Fox
Company under Capt. Nadira Vidanapathirana joined in the confrontation.
The SF that re-captured the bunkers, recovered 44 bodies of LTTE cadres
of the Radha Regiment, one of its foremost units, and a large cache of
arms including 101 T-56 rifles, a T-81 weapon, seven light machine guns,
three 60mm mortar launchers and a stock of food, during the search
operations that followed.
Capt. Vidanapathirana was injured during the confrontations.
The 12th Gemunu Watch recovered nine bodies, and 55 Division three
bodies, along with six weapons and three communication sets.
On information that Lawrance had been trapped in the military controlled
area, during these clashes, the SF launched continuous search operations
on Friday (6) to track him down.
Meanwhile four specially trained groups of Tigers who had infiltrated
Chalai area by boat, were killed by the SF. They had shot dead a soldier
of 5 GR guarding the beach, with a pistol before escaping. A woman
suicide bomber blasted herself, killing another soldier, during
subsequent search operations to track them down.
Three commandos of a four man team that was trying to track them down,
were killed during the search operation. However, the surviving Corporal
gunned down the three remaining terrorists.
The infiltrator team, which included two women cadres, were in
possession of RPG launchers and 16 RPG shells, claymore mines, pistols,
T-56 rifles, a stock of food adequate for several months, including
chocolates and personal items
The SF suspect that the plan of the terrorist group may have been to
make their way through Chundikulam sanctuary and ambush military convoys
on the Veththilayakarni-Mullaithivu, Vettilaikerni-Aiyakatchchi and
Vishvamadu-Pranthan roads, and the entry points on the A-9 highway. The
group carried maps indicating all roads up to Pooneryn, and water
resources in Chundikulam.
Intelligence has revealed that the LTTE, which is not in a position to
launch any major attacks, has mobilised small terror teams with special
training, to carry out widespread hit-and-run attacks, as in the 1980s.
Special Forces and Commando teams, along with Infantry units, have been
deployed to track down one such group.
Tiger NGO employee
SF recovered several documents to establish that a terrorist named
Velupillai Jayaratnam of Sellapuram, Mullaithivu, who was killed in a
recent confrontation with the Sinha Regiment in Mullaitivu, had been a
team leader of an international NGO called “Swiss Foundation for Mine
Action”. One of the documents was a leave chit signed by the Manager of
the NGO’s office at Amman Kovil Road, Thothikkal, Vavuniya, Rosan
The NGO had issued him an identity card bearing No. 068 and the approval
of leave included a request for permission for him to enter an LTTE held
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Air Force confirmed that Kroner, an
Intelligence Wing LTTE leader, who planned attacks in Colombo was killed
in an air strike.
A haul of arms of the LTTE, including four heavy weapons, buried in the
Sugandipuram jungles, was recovered this week by the 8th Light Infantry
Regiment under Lt. Col. Ipsitha Dissanayaka of the 57-2 Brigade headed
by Col. Senerath Bandara.
It included three 130mm artillery guns, a 122mm artillery gun, pieces of
four dismantled weapons, 16 boat engines and many other equipment. It
was for the first time that the SF recovered a large haul of heavy
weapons belonging to the LTTE. Troops of Alpha Company under Capt.
Pethum Chandrasiri of the Eighth Infantry Regiment (IR) recovered these
The 7 IR under Maj. Mihindu Perera of the same Brigade coming under 57
Division headed by Major Gen. Jagath Dias, recovered the two largest
bombs ever recovered by the SF. The bombs, 9ft in length and 5ft in
width, had been manufactured by the LTTE. It is yet to be established
whether these bombs were meant for aerial bombing or Sea Tiger attacks.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. G.A Chandrasiri assumed duties on Tuesday as Chief
of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). He rendered a unique service as
the SF Commander in Jaffna, by defending the Jaffna peninsula during a
crucial time from Dec.5, 2005, till recently, and virtually wiped out
terrorism in the area.
For the first time in the history of the SLA, his services were extended
beyond 55 years of age, in view of his efficiency, by Army Chief Lt.
Gen. Sarath Fonseka, for a further period of one year, in order to
retain his valuable services.
Meanwhile, another three senior Brigadiers were promoted as Major
Generals on the recommendation of the Army Commander by order No. MSB/A/6/1(Prom)
(142) dated March 2 and signed by Military Secretary Brig. G.S.
Brig. Kamal Gunaratne, who commanded combat Divisions from the very
inception of the Wanni operations, as the Commander of 53 Division,
Brig. Nanadana Udawatta who was the Commander of 59 Division, during the
drive from Weli Oya to Mullaitivu, and Brig. Mano Perera who commanded
the Armoured Brigade, during the crucial Muhamalai battle in 2006, and
is now the Western Province Operations Commander, were promoted as Major
Generals. Brig. Perera also served earlier as the Commander of 52
Division and as Brigade Commander of 55-3 Brigade.