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LTTE downfall imminent as more strongholds fall

*Tigers in propaganda campaign to halt Forces' advance;
*Civilians forcibly kept for use as human shield

There were many predictions two years ago when the Security Forces commenced military operations against the LTTE, that the Security Forces were going after the illusionary task of defeating the LTTE militarily.

But those predictions have become invalid with today's status quo of the military operations as troops go ahead with their military operations, unaffected by criticism and dire predictions, capturing those 'impregnable' fortresses one after the other.

There is a miraculous change in the attitude of those critics, within the past few weeks with reports indicating that the downfall of the LTTE is imminent at the hands of the Security Forces.

This sudden change of attitude came after the Security Forces stepped into the Kilinochchi district along the Mannar Pooneryn A-32 road after completing their mission of liberating the Mannar district.

Statistics indicate that the area under LTTE control has been reduced from 15,000 square kilometres two years back to 4,000 square kilometres reducing its fighting strength to 5,000 cadres.

Not only are they facing defeat in the North East but also facing setbacks internationally too losing their international support base with many countries banning the LTTE as a terror organisation and stopping funding sources of the organisation.

As the humiliating defeat of the LTTE is imminent it has commenced a desperate campaign to tarnish the image of the Security Forces, risking the lives of the innocent civilians trapped in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

The pro-LTTE media came out with their malicious campaign depicting photographs of innocent civilians allegedly affected by the shelling of the Army and the air strikes of the SLAF. But Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka and Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke flatly denied those allegations saying the LTTE is making these allegations to stop the military advance into the Tiger territory.

This is yet another situation similar to that of the Chencholai Training Camp in Mullaitivu which later backfired on the LTTE with the revelation that it was a weapons training centre for the children forcibly recruited to the LTTE.

Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka is of the view that LTTE itself is firing shells into civilian populated areas firstly to tarnish the image of the Security Forces and secondly to shift the civilians to the places they wish.

As this situation prevails in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts the ground is increasingly becoming limited for the civilians to move, with many of the High Security Zones of the LTTE too located within these areas further restricting the movements of the civilians.

Therefore, the possibilities civilians getting affected from the confrontations between the Security Forces and the LTTE is becoming high within the coming weeks where intense fighting is going to erupt.

According to intelligence reports, the LTTE is coming out with these allegations as they are making attempts to create a human shield in Kilinochchi to defend their territory from advancing Security Forces.


58 division troops after capturing Mulangavil


LTTE cultivation in Mulangavil

What is more interesting to note is that, unlike in Vakarai the LTTE is left with more than 200,000 civilians in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu to use as a shield to take a cover from the long range artillery guns of the Security Forces.

Therefore, the only option available for the civilians entrapped in this territory is to defy the orders of the LTTE and to march towards cleared areas in Vavuniya as all arrangements have been made by the Government to receive them at the Omanthai entry exit point in the same manner the Security Forces made arrangements to receive thousands of civilians fleeing Vakarai at Rideetenna.

As the Security Forces further advanced into Kilinochchi district along the A-32 passing the Mannar Kilinochchi district border the LTTE has been affected with troops closing in on the Kilinochchi district.

Apparently the LTTE is withdrawing from the A-32 Pooneryn amid the stiff resistance from 58 Division troops advancing towards Pooneryn direction. The 583 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Suraj Banshajaya came across number of tactically important areas along the A-32 road.

Troops attached to 11 Sri Lanka Infantry Battalion under the command of Lt. Colonel Senaka Wijesuriya on Monday captured Kalekuda Jetty, about two km north of the Mannar Kilinochchi district boundary.

Troops also attacked some of the LTTE boats fleeing the area at the time of the troops advanced into the Kalekuda Jetty.

It was on Tuesday afternoon that two small teams attached to the 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry Battalion moved into Mulankavil area which was considered the second most important township in the Kilinochchi district after Kilinochchi town.

The LTTE had their 'national stadium' in Mulangavil where they also had a large number of graveyards. This was the second graveyard belonging to the LTTE that came under the control of the Security Forces after the Andankulam cemetery.

According to ground troops, this had 500 graves where the LTTE had buried the recently killed cadres. The capture of Mulangavil was declared only on Wednesday afternoon after troops attached to the 6 Gemunu Watch battalion operating under the command of the Lt. Colonel Kamal Pinnawala captured the area East of A-32 road where the LTTE had their Mahaveer Cemetery.

Mulangavil is the first town one may find after passing the Mannar Kilinochchi districts boundary along the A-32 road. The LTTE had used Mulangavil as one of their administrative bases for the Kilinochchi district with many of their offices locating in the town.


572 brigade commander Lt. Col. Senarath Bandara

Being a fertile land the LTTE had grown vegetables and other crops in Mulangavil, getting the civilians to work their against their wish. However, the capture of Mulangavil has become an advantageous factor for the Security Forces as the LTTE has lost one of their important townships in the Kilinochchi district.

This being the first township lost by the LTTE in the Kilinochchi district, the LTTE is now starting to feel the real defeat they are going to face immediately in Kilinochchi.

By this time the Defence Authorities are in a position to give a time frame for completely capturing Kilinochchi. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in an interview has expressed optimism that within another four months the troops will able to capture Kilinochchi town.

There was a period when defence authorities could not give any time frame to achieve a task. Today the Security Forces have a clear picture and an assessment of Tiger capabilities and a time frame for achieving the stipulated target taking almost all the areas in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts under the artillery range of Security Forces.

The Security Forces are now in a position even to control Pooneryn the northernmost tip on the Mannar Pooneryn road on the North Western coast through long range artillery guns.

By yesterday the Security Forces had reached the outskirts of the Nachchikuda the last Sea Tiger base located on the North Western coast which has been used by the LTTE as one of their transit points during sea operations.

Therefore, the LTTE is expecting that the Security Forces would reach upto Pooneryn along the A-32 road as such an advance needs a large number of troops and a commitment to hold this land which can basically enable the Security Forces to open an alternative route to Jaffna across the lagoon.

As troops attached to the 58 Division make headway to LTTE garrisons in Kilinochchi district along the North Western coast the troops attached to 57 Division operating under the command of Major General Jagath Dias made a major breakthrough with the capture of Kalvilan village located south-west of Thunukkai town.

Heavy fighting continued in the general area of Kalvilan, which was the last settlement before Thunukkai town the major administrative hub in the Western flank of the Mullaitivu district. The attempt of the LTTE was to keep the Security Forces out of bounds of Thunukkai town.

The 572 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Senerath Bandara commanded the troops attached to the 7 Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel Ranjith and 8 Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel. Epsritha Dissanayke entered the Kalvilan village on Tuesday evening.

The LTTE made six abortive attempts to stop the troops advance in to the Kalvilan village using full strength against the troops. But later they abandoned their attempt to hold the village and fled the area. The LTTE had their main mortar and artillery positions at Kalvilan.


victorious troops near the Kalekuda Jetty Pictures courtesy SLA

The capture of Kalvilan would be the turning point of the fall of Thunukkai and Mallavi as troops are operating just two Kilometres south of Thunukkai after crossing two earth bunds, canals and tank bunds.

Yesterday evening too troops attached to the 572 Brigade confronted with another group of LTTE cadres south of Kalvilan. Troops effectively repulsed the attack using Multi Barrel Launchers, artillery and mortars.

According to ground troops, the LTTE is deploying 30 to 40 Tiger cadres for counter attacks with the strong feeling that they can control the Security Forces advances using such a force like in the past where they gained many victories against troops with low morale.

But these tactics have become invalid as the morale of the troops is at its highest level at this point of time.

But the LTTE may engage in a do or die battle to defend Thunukkai and Mallavi which are the connecting towns of the East and Western flanks of the Mullaitivu district through Vellankulam road which links to Mullaitivu via Nedunkerni.

Still troops have to cross a massive open area surrounding Thunukkai and Mallavi spreading over 70 square kilometres to reach safer destinations in the Mullaitivu jungle covered with thick forest cover.

Meanwhile troops attached to the 573 Brigade operating under the command of Lt. Colonel Prathap Thillekeratne also made a slow but steady advance to Mallavi located east of Thunukkai with the objective of capturing the most favoured town of Prabhakaran after Mullaitivu.

According to intelligence reports, Prabhakaran now suffering from acute diabetics is in a weak position due to his deteriorating health condition caused by the stress he has to face both due to ground operations and airstrikes of the SLAF which had been very precise and accurate.

The LTTE is now facing a difficult situation with many of their strongholds becoming exposed to the civilians now moving from one place to another due to fighting.

It was not only from one direction the LTTE is facing threats. Mullaitivu too has come under the threat of the Security Forces with troops attached to 59 Division advancing into Mullaitivu jungles.

As both their administrative and military bases are due to fall to the Security Forces the LTTE will have to search for another alternative to hide for their escape as they are left with only the sea. But that would also be an unrealistic option with the Navy and the Air Force constantly vigilant about their movements.

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