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Sunday, 28 September 2008

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Frantic Prabhakaran changes hideouts as troops close in

The frequency of gas attacks and the wave type of attacks were intensified this week as troops inched into the outskirts of the Kilinochchi Tiger capital whilst its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, frequently attending ceremonies to pay homage to their dead Tiger leaders at clandestine locations, frantically changed his hide outs to avoid air attacks targeting the LTTE leadership and other military and logistic bases.

Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has to allocate all 365 days of the year to attend funerals and ceremonies to commemorate the Tiger leaders who sacrificed their lives to appease his thirst for blood in achieving an illusionary goal of Tamil Eelam. Prabhakaran cannot just ignore the lives of these Tiger leaders whom he had preyed to achieve his illusionary goal Tamil Eelam.

Can a leader like Prabhakaran, who put the lives of the entire Tamil community in danger by igniting flames of hatred in their hearts, equipping them with weapons to fight with the Sri Lankan Security Forces and making ruthless suicide squadrons to prey young Tamil blood to take the lives of political and military leaders to achieve his illusion, remain silent at this decisive moment?

Tamils across the globe should not remain silent over the inane silence of their so-called leader because they should not allow him to take the innocent Tamil civilians entrapped in Wanni as hostages to save his life or to make his escape from the flaming battle field. If he himself dedicates his life for the sake of the Tamil community he should come out from his clandestine location and should live with the Tamil community and fight back along with other military leaders.

The Tamils, who raised their voice against the Sri Lankan Government and the Security Forces once Tamils were arrested and questioned as measures to secure the country from terror attacks and their bid to arrest Tiger infiltrators across the globe, should raise their voice boldly against the Tiger leader Prabhakaran and urge him to release the Tamil civilians entrapped in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.

It is delightful to note that the majority international community has realized who the real demons in the affairs of civilians are as many INGOs and NGOs have already raised their protest against the LTTE for not allowing the local aid workers to arrive in cleared areas after fleeing Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu which are now being raging with fierce fighting.

So LTTE is now under huge pressure from the international community to get the Tamil community released from the war ravaged Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts whilst they are also under huge pressure from the military also as troops have reached the outskirts of Kilinochchi town by this time.

As Army Commander emphasized at a function in Colombo this week they are now ready to launch assaults on the Kilinochchi town by the beginning of this week as it is within the sight of the troops.

It was amidst this situation that the LTTE intensified their counter attacks on the Security Forces now operating closer to A-9 road and from Kokavil to Murikkandi and along the Akkarayankulam-Kokavil road.

These counter attacks coming in a wave type of attacks using gas canisters, and using their grenade teams, RPG teams and LMG teams.These gas attacks have now become frequent one as almost all the battalions attached to the 572 Brigade 8 and 10 Sri Lanka Light Infantry battalions, 4 Sinha Regiment and 3 Gajaba Regiment who were operating in the East of Akkarayankulam and West of Murikkandi and toward Kokavil had faced these CS gas attacks at different occasions.

By this time troops are well equipped to face these gas attacks with thousands of gas masks being sent to the battlefront for the use of the soldiers in case of in gas attacks.

However, the objective of launching these gas attacks is not clear as the effectiveness of these is becoming less when it is used in an open space since they are meant to use in build up areas or inside buildings.

On one hand, it is a clear indication that the LTTE is now entered into a ‘do or die battle’ as they have observed the real feeling of their definite defeat in Kilinochchi since there is no other option but to send their cadres waves after waves to face the advancing troops.Therefore, they must be thinking of ways of confronting a group of confused troops who have been affected by these gas attacks. But this has been negated by the Security Forces by issuing gas masks for every soldier in the battlefront.

On the other hand, this is a clear indication to say that the LTTE is not ready to fight in build up areas in the Kilinochchi town as they are prematurely using these gas attacks which can be effectively used in a town like Kilinochchi where LTTE is having their main administrative offices like Police stations, political offices, court complexes and various other buildings. In further analysing these gas attacks serious considerations should also be given as to whether the LTTE is studying the reaction of the Security Forces to these attacks to make use of much powerful chemicals or gases to thwart the advance of the troops into Kilinochchi town.

It is most unlikely they would make such an attempt as it would bring deadly effect on both Security Forces and LTTE as well.A most prominent feature here is that the LTTE was not successful in their effort to thwart the advance march of the troops as non of their counter offensive operations have become successful even after deploying their cadres wave after wave probably for the first time in the two years of fighting since 2006 as troops have been able to taken the upper hand in all their counter attacks with the help of the superior fire power and the air support given by the Sri Lanka Air Force.Over hundred Tiger cadres have been reportedly killed during confrontations in the East of Akkarayankulam from September 14 to 22 whilst similar numbers of Tiger cadres have been confirmed injured in these counter attacks. During the past four days too over 40 Tiger cadres have been reportedly killed and large number of cadres sustained injuries during the confrontations in East of Akkarayankulam.

One of the prominent features in this battle is that all these cadres killed in these battles belonged to RPG teams, MPMG teams and also from the elite Imran Pandyan and Charles Anthony Brigade cadres.

Amidst all these counter attacks by the LTTE in the outskirts of Kilinochchi town, troops have now reached towards A-9 road from Kokavil to Murikandy. The troops attached to 572 Brigade under the command of Colonel Senerath Bandara, who received his fresh promotion last Sunday as a full Colonel, are in a position to dominate the A-9 road at any moment.

Though they have not taken control of the A-9 road they are in a position to control all the Tiger movements along this section of the A-9 road as it is within the range of RPG attack of the Security Forces.Though the Security Forces have the capability to cut off the A-9 road they may not resort to such tactics though initial plans were there to cut off the A-9 road to thwart Tiger attempts to move their long range artillery closer towards Omanthai to launch an attack similar to the one launched towards Wanni Security Forces Headquarters.Such an attempt can be further negated as troops attached to the 573 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Prathap Thillekeratne is heading towards Mankulam direction to take A-9 road further close to troops from that direction too.

Intense battles were reported on the Mallavi-Mankulam road too with the troops advancing further towards Mankulam to restrict Tiger movement along the A-9 road.

As the Security Forces attached to the 57 Division under the command of Major General Jagath Dias heads towards Kilinochchi ,the 58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva, made a major breakthrough with troops advancing further Northward after capturing the huge earth bund constructed from Nachchikuda to Akkarayankulam from Karambakulam area.

The troops of the 58 Division have now advanced more than one kilometre from the earth bund passing Manniyankulam tank and dominating the Nachchikuda-Akkarayankulam road which is a vital supply route to feed the Tiger cadres dominating Nachchikuda Sea Tiger Base.

The battle that stagnated for a few weeks due to this huge earth bund has taken a new turn in this stretch of Kilinochchi district too after the 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry Battalion captured a vital section of earth bund last week braving booby traps and huge quantity of AP mines.

They are now maintaining a 2.5 kilometers front ahead of this earth bund and confronted scores of Tiger cadres pumped into the front from Muhamalai front. The MI 24 and fighter jets of the SLAF also gave close support to the advancing troops of the 58 Division accurately engaging the reinforcements arriving there from Akkarayan area.

The 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry, 12 Gajaba Regiment and 9 Gemunu Watch battalions are now holding this ground effectively facing the Tiger counter attacks. Meanwhile, troops attached to 12 Gemunu Watch battalion under the command of Lt.Colonel. Nandana Dunuwila and 6 Gemunu Watch battalion under the Command of Lt. Colonel Kamal Pinnawala managed to capture another one kilometre stretch of earth bund from Vannerikulam East further widening the front along this huge earth bund.


Pix : Rukmal Gamage

During these confrontations more than 40 Tiger cadres have been reportedly killed and 32 names have already been announced by the LTTE through their communications on Friday itself. Eleven Tiger bodies have been recovered from this area after the fierce battles and 11 Tiger bodies have been recovered in the 58 Division area.

This move by the 58 Division put the Security Forces effort to further restrict the Tiger movement into inner parts of the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts as further advancement of troops towards the North will deprive the LTTE of their supplies from the North Western coast, which is a major prerequisite in starving the LTTE of their logistic supplies that are coming from the South Indian direction.

Therefore, the battle fronts in the 57 Division heading towards Kilinochchi and 58 Division heading towards Pooneryn direction are expected to reach its peak in the coming weeks.

Not only this battlefront, the Weli Oya battle front too becoming intense with the 59 Division under the command of Brigadier Nandana Udawatta too reaching to a decisive phase as they too reached the outskirts of Mullaitivu territory passing the thick jungle area in the Andankulam forest reserve.

The 591 Brigade under the command of Colonel Aruna Ariyaratne is now reaching the South of Nayaru lagoon where the LTTE is having their major Sea Tiger base while 592 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Maneesha Silva is holding the area in the West of Thannimurippukulam tank.They are operating just 10 Kilometres short of Mullaitivu in this front.

In the midst of these battles the LTTE leadership faces diverse problems as many of the lower level cadres questioned them about the supply of food, water and ammunition to the cadres operating in the front. LTTE is confronted with a huge problem over casualty evacuation as they lacked transport facilities.

They were not getting even artillery support though they were equipped with enough 60 mm, 80 mm and 120 mm mortars. Therefore, the day is not too far for the ground level cadres to defy the orders of the senior level cadres and also in return the senior level cadres to defy the orders of top brass of the LTTE with all their supplies restricted from all directions from the Sea and by land.Amidst this situation the LTTE is facing acute shortage of cadres in the Kilinochchi front and used to bring in their reinforcements from the Jaffna front. But many of the reinforced teams also faced the same destiny at the hands of the Security Forces as they have been targeted by the Security Force before reaching the desired destinations perishing to air raids and long range artillery.

Therefore, the entire area has become a killing zone for the Security Forces as they were able to reduce Tiger strength to a considerable number of Tiger cadres before they enter into the centre of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.

Therefore, the LTTE will have to show off their resilience to face the Security Forces amidst losing such a massive number of cadres if they are to prove to the Tamil community whether they are strong enough to be the saviours of the Tamil community or else they should accept their certain defeat at the hands of the Security Forces.

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