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Sunday, 11 January 2009

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Commanders celebrate A-9 victory

The national flag fluttered in the breeze in the open terrain of Elephant Pass yesterday as the Security Forces Commanders of Jaffna and Wanni shook hands in the centre of Elephant Pass to mark the historic moment of opening the Jaffna-Kandy A-9 Road with the capture of Elephant Pass.

Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mendaka Samarasinghe and his Wanni compatriot Major General Jagath Jayasuriya took part in this function which was organised to mark the historic victory and the liberation of the entire A-9 Road to Jaffna.

Brigadier Shavendra Silva who commanded the 58 Division which captured the Elephant Pass south and Brigadiers Kamal Gunaratne and Prasanna Silva who commanded the 53 Division and 55 Division respectively the north approaching from Muhamalai side embraced one another as the troops from either side exchanged national flags to mark the occasion.

The Commanders walked along the narrow causeway and raised the flags of the 58 Division, 53 Division and the 55 Division as the national flag and the Army flag fluttered in the air.

Troops from the either side hugged one another as it was the first time they had met one another, across this narrow stretch of land that links the Jaffna peninsula with the mainland. “We are meeting at this historic moment after 23 years when we could open the A-9 Road which runs along Elephant Pass”, Wanni Security Forces Commander Major General Jagath Jayasuriya said.

The midway mark of Elephant Pass demarcates the boundaries between Jaffna Security Forces headquarters and the Wanni Security Forces command.

It was with the combined effort of the 58, 53 and the 55 Divisions, troops fully liberated the Elephant Pass after nine years following the 2000 April withdrawal.

“Troops have now taken full control of the Jaffna peninsula and the civilian population rejoices with the victory of the Security Forces”, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mendaka Samarasinghe said adding that there is no way for the LTTE to infiltrate into the peninsula.

Soldiers from all the Divisions who contributed to this historic victory were seen taking photographs in memory of this historic moment.

They also remembered their fellow soldier - Hasalaka Gamini who made the supreme sacrifice to defend the Elephant Pass camp way back in 1991.

 

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