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Tigers’ last Eastern bastion falls

THOPPIGALA: Security Forces advancing to liberate the Thoppigala area from LTTE control dealt a mortal blow to the last line of Tiger resistance when it captured the outfit’s main headquarters base last morning releasing the grip on its Eastern stronghold.

The Security Forces are in a buoyant mood after capturing the nerve centre of the LTTE in Thoppigala which is its last stronghold in the East, Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said. “Troops captured the last remaining main LTTE base in Thoppigala,” he added.

Advancing commandos were supported by armoured battalions and engineering units backed by aerial cover from the Air Force.

The Security Forces are in full control over Narakamulla and Tharavikulama areas where the LTTE leadership had its Eastern headquarters and other installations.

“Troops have reached the main headquarters of the LTTE in Thoppigala and assumed full control,” Brigadier Samarasinghe told the Daily News.

“Dealing a major blow to the Tiger hierarchy in the East, those military operations bring all of eastern Sri Lanka under Government control for the first time after 13 years,” the Army said in a statement. “The victorious soldiers are presently clearing enemy ‘pockets’ scattered in the dense jungle and are pursuing the LTTE cadres who are on the run,” the defence ministry said.

“A small number of Tiger cadres facing imminent defeat at the hands of the soldiers are in hiding in the West of Thoppigala jungle while troops are continuing their humanitarian mission,” he added.

The Brigadier said soldiers were also conducting clearing operations in the captured areas of land mines and booby traps.

The Security Forces clearing the area recovered arms and vehicles left behind and burnt by the fleeing Tigers.

They included two 120 mm mortar guns, a bowser, two double cabs, five tractors with dry rations, five motorcycles and five Canter vans.

The Tigers had used the area as their main command and control headquarters in the Eastern province.

Capturing the East was not just a battle to gain control over land but a battle to restore humanity in the land which was engulfed by terrorism of the LTTE.

The heroic soldiers completed their mission in the Eastern theatre yesterday far ahead of the schedule by capturing the nerve centre of the Thoppigala jungle or the Baron’s Cap after taking the control of Narakamulla and Taravikulam Tiger camp complexes.

It ended the troops’ long journey braving all forms of terrorism and criticism to achieve their noble humanitarian mission commenced on July 26 last year from Mavil Aru to restore water supply for 30,000 people in the South of Trincomalee. They engaged in battles sans attractive titles and foiled each and every threat posed by the LTTE in their bid to clear the East from LTTE threats after liberating Mavil Aru sluice gates fully on October 31.

They bravely faced the LTTE terror attack on Kattaparichchan, Muttur, Toppur, Selvanagar and Mahindapura in the wee hours of August 2 last year and foiled their plans to crippling supplies to Jaffna peninsula by flushing out terror outfit from Sampur, Ilakanthair in subsequent operations carried out from August 27 to September 31 last year.

Then they moved to clear the threats in the areas surrounding the Trincomalee harbour in Gangai and Manirasakulam from October 1 to 6 and then moved to liberate 30,000 civilian population kept as a human shield by the LTTE in Vakarai and Kathirveli from October 30 January 21.

The operation carried out in West and South of Batticaloa from February 24 to April 12 was meant to liberate nearly 65,000 people living there.

Then the troops entered the final phase of the Eastern battles in May this year to flush out LTTE terrorism from the jungle hideouts in Thoppigala.

 

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