Troops encircle No Fire Zone
Forces poised for civilian rescue:
three decade prolonged conflict in the North and East yesterday reached
its climax as the Security Forces were able to confine the LTTE, the
most ruthless terror outfit in the world into a narrow stretch of 20
square kilometres in the North of Mullaitivu which has been demarcated
for the civilians trapped inside the conflict affected zone.
The LTTE which has been propagating all over the world through the
LTTE dominated media network to convince the Tamil Diaspora across the
globe that they would fight back at any time to reverse the military
victories, will have to accept the bitter truth that at last they have
been defeated by the military as they lost control of the entire
Puthukudiyiruppu and Iranapalai area by yesterday afternoon.
What is left to them is to retreat and hide among the Tamil civilians
still kept under their detention in Puthumattalan, Ampalavanpokkanai,
Palamattalan, Valayamadam, Vellmullivaikkal and Kariyamullivaikkal areas
inside the No Fire Zone (NFZ).
But there is no guarantee period for their safety inside the No Fire
Zone since with the sympathy of the civilians the Security Forces are
determined to liberate each inch of land in the North to ensure that
there will be no LTTE influence anywhere in the North and East.
The LTTE had to face this pathetic situation suddenly, at the last
leg of the battle outside No Fire Zone as the Security Forces made a
surprise move on Wednesday encircling more than one square kilometre
territory in which the LTTE was fighting heavily with the 58 Division
It may be for the first time in the three decade long North East
conflict that the ground troops practised this military manoeuvre which
may have been in military books for centuries.
What is more special in this move is that the Security Forces were
able to capture an area, where LTTE will have to fight for more than
three weeks posing stiff resistance to the Forces within just two three
days move by the 58 Division and the 53 Division together.
The intensity of the war that was going on for the past few weeks in
Puthukudiyiruppu and Iranapalai would have proved the toughness of the
battle there as the LTTE was engaged in a do or die battle to defend
each inch of land in Puthukudiyiruppu from the advancing troops.
Troops of the 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment and the 20 Gajaba
Regiment attached to the 58 Division under the command of Brigadier
Shavendra Silva made the move from the Northern direction, from the
Puthumattalan lagoon terrain.
They came across the lagoon stretch which is some two kilometres East
of the front lines where fierce fighting was going on between the 58
Division troops and the LTTE.
Whilst the 58 Division troops were moving from the North to South
direction the 53 Division troops made a South to North move from the
A-35 road to link up with the 58 Division troops.
Brigadier Chagi Gallage commanded the troops as the Acting Commander
of the 53 Division during the operation and Major General Kamal
Gunaratne who was on leave joined the operation on Thursday.
The 11 SLLI troops under the command of Lt. Colonel Kithsiri
Ekanayake made a surprise move to Pachchapulmudai junction on the
Puthukudiyiruppu Ampalavanpokkanai road the last supply route connected
to the Tiger defence line from the No Fire Zone by Wednesday afternoon
completely cutting off LTTE links between the No Fire Zone and the
Fierce fighting erupted in this terrain as many Tiger leaders
attempted to flee from the area in double cabs and other vehicles.
Those vehicles were attacked from all directions by the ground troops
killing a number of Tiger cadres.
With the capture of the Pachchapulmudai junction the 11 SLLI troops
linked up with the 5 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment troops in the south of
Pachchapulmudai junction completing the mission of encircling more than
one square kilometre terrain which was strongly held by the LTTE with
the intention of dragging on the war for another several weeks.
Intercepted radio communication of the LTTE indicated that the top
level leadership of the LTTE was aware of the move by the Security
Forces at the last moment and have slipped away from the area even
without informing the Tiger cadres trapped inside this terrain.
There was information that Bhanu and Lawrence who were commanding the
Tiger cadres have escaped from the area a few minutes before troops
encircled the area but have not informed the situation to the ground
There was no communication between the Tiger cadres trapped inside
and the Tiger leaders operating from the No Fire Zone during Wednesday
night. But there were some attempts by Tiger cadres to escape from the
trap they have been caught up.
Even on Thursday morning fierce fighting raged between the Tiger
cadres trapped inside this terrain and the troops of the 58 Division
engaged in search and clear operations inside the area encircled by the
58 and 53 Division troops.
Civilians arriving in the cleared areas Picture by Rukmal
Tiger cadres continued with their fight as they were not aware what
was happening behind them as their leaders continue to mislead them
saying that they would bring in reinforcements and enough ammunition
stocks to continue their fighting.
The most pathetic situation is that the LTTE leadership is still
trying to mislead not only the Tamil Diaspora but also the Tiger cadres
as they are aware of the fact that they cannot keep the Tiger cadres
with them to fight the war against the Security Forces if they give them
the correct picture.
Under these circumstances the Tiger cadres trapped inside this narrow
stretch had to commit suicide themselves once troops reached each and
every bunker they were manning inside.
With these moves the LTTE has now been confined to the No Fire Zone
as they are left with a bare land infested with shrubs and paddy fields.
Therefore, troops of the 58 Division and the 53 Division are poised to
reach the borders of No Fire Zone very soon as these two Divisions are
operating respectively 400 metres and two kilometres distance from the
No Fire Zone.
As these two Divisions the 58 and 53 Division along with the Task
Force 8 under the command of Colonel G.V. Ravipriya are making these
from the West of the No Fire Zone the 55 Division under the command of
Brigadier Prasanna Silva also have reached some 1.5 Km North of the No
Fire Zone having captured five earth bunds created by the LTTE to stop
The 553 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Mahinda Weerasuriya
commenced the operation to capture the fifth earth bund of the LTTE on
the narrow stretch of land in Thevavetti in the North of Puthumattalan.
It was on March 28 that the troops attached to 7 Vijayaba Infantry
Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel Deepal Pussella started the
operation from the beach front and the lagoon front to advance towards
the Tiger earth bund.
As they start the move to advance on the LTTE terrain, the troops of
the 4 Gemunu Watch battalion through their powerful binoculars, observed
that Sea Tigers were launching two boats from the No Fire Zone area.
As LTTE was trying to launch boats the 55 Division troops took prompt
action to launch a missile attack on the boat movement. It was at 5.50
am in the morning troops fired the first missile to disturb the boat
movement. After disturbing the Tiger boat movement the 7 Vijayaba
Infantry Regiment troops started their move towards the Tiger earth
Armoured tanks gave them close support firing the Tiger earth bund
from the Western edge. Within two hours the 7 VIR troops were able to
capture the earth bund of the LTTE in Puthumattalan.
As the troops were consolidating their positions in the newly
captured earth bund the 55 Division troops once again observed another
five Tiger boats moving towards the area. With the detection of the
Tiger boat movement troops took immediate steps to fire another Pakistan
made, laser guided missile towards the Tiger boats. It was at 4.50 p.m.
the 55 Division troops fired the second missile during that day. Due to
that missile attack one Tiger boat was completely destroyed.
However, Sea Tigers continue to launch their boats into the sea as
they were aware that the 55 Division troops were also fast advancing
from the No Fire Zone from the Northern direction.
During the night also they launched some boats into the sea and
reached the sea off Chalai and Chundikulam areas. That prompted the Sri
Lanka Navy to launch their Fast Attack Craft to engage with the Tiger
boats. In one such assault a Tiger boat got damaged.
Intercepted radio transmissions confirmed that, Sea Tiger leader
Maran was either killed or wounded in the Sea battle and they were given
instruction to drag the boat back to their base along with Maran.
One sailor was killed and another Navy officer was injured during
this sea battle in the sea off Chundikulam.
These attempts by the LTTE very clearly indicate that the Tiger
leadership is making desperate moves to come out of this terrible
situation as they do not see any room given by the Government for any
international interference into this situation. The Government
especially Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and Foreign
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama are engaged in an aggressive campaign to
change the attitude of the international community towards the Sri
Therefore, many moves by the LTTE backed organizations to interfere
in the Sri Lankan situation failed at many international forums
including at the Security Council of the United Nations.
The Government openly argued its case at all international forums
where some disgruntled elements tried to implicate a bad picture about
the Sri Lankan situation. Many international organizations have realized
the fact that it was the LTTE which was behind the move to feed false
information to the international community.
The international community can learn the correct attitude of the
Tamil civilians towards the LTTE fleeing from the No Fire Zone if they
also can go through the agonizing experience they had with the LTTE.
The correct attitude about the LTTE was once again witnessed on March
28 when a batch of civilians escaped from the Tiger grip arrived at a
welfare centre in Vavuniya. According to military officials who had
witnessed this incident, once these civilians got down from the bus, the
number of civilians started to assault a man accusing him of plundering
their children from their families.
The entire crowd inside the bus started to assault this person
cursing him for taking away their children and forcibly recruiting them
into the LTTE. Later it was found that the man being assaulted by the
crowd was a LTTE Policeman who had worked at Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu
as a LTTE Policeman.
Nadaraja Kumar (38) from Peliyagoda had joined the LTTE during his
excursions into Kilinochchi during peace time. He has been entrusted to
arrest deserters and children fleeing from the LTTE training programmes.
He has also been responsible for forcible recruitment of children to
the LTTE. It was due to the recruiting of children and family members to
the LTTE many civilians could not reach the Government controlled areas
as they were reluctant to leave their children with the LTTE.
Since they have no right to express their opposition to the LTTE,
they waited until the moment they reached the cleared areas to assault
the Tiger Policeman who had grabbed their children from them. It very
clearly shows that the people were suppressed very badly by the LTTE
after denying them the right to express their opposition to any move by
It is incumbent on the Security Forces to liberate them from the
Tiger grip to ensure that those civilians also enjoy the same rights
like other civilian populations in the country.
Therefore, the Security Forces having marched along a very long path
from Mavil Aru to Thoppigala in the Eastern liberation operation and
from the Kalmadu to Puthukudiyiruppu on the Vanni liberation operation
have come to a very decisive point of the war.
Having reached the edges of the No Fire Zone they cannot wait till
the LTTE allow those civilians trapped inside since the history has
proved beyond any doubt that the LTTE is not an organization with an
iota of respect for humanity. Therefore, the Security Forces are now
getting ready to launch one of the world’s largest hostage rescue
operations to free more than 50,000 civilians from LTTE detention.
The task may be very heavy but the troops are ready to take up this
challenge too very positively to prove their metal as one of the best
armies in the world to emerge victorious against the most ruthless
terror outfit in the world.