End of road for Tigers as troops close in on Pooneryn
troops continue their forward march from all four major battlefronts the LTTE is hit with a problem regarding their priority to decide whether
they should go defend their pride and prestige or to defend their
strategic strongholds as they are fast losing their strength on all four
The LTTE is confronted with this dilemma as Kilinochchi, the
‘capital’ of the LTTE’s imaginary Tamil Eelam which is considered the
pride of the LTTE and its strategic strongholds Pooneryn and Mullaitivu
are already under threat by the Security Forces. The troops of all four
offensive Divisions now operating in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu
districts are within striking distance to Pooneryn on the North Western
coast, Kilinochchi in the centre and Mullaitivu on the North Eastern
coast with troops reaching the strategically important Kumulamunai
village by yesterday.
If there was any contingency plan for the LTTE to defend all these
strongholds, which are vital for their future existence, the LTTE is
fast receding from that capability, as they are not in a position to
manage with the remaining strength with the troops launching a military
thrust simultaneously on Pooneryn, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu.
It was after the news about the troops’ attempts to open a land route
to Jaffna via Mannar - Pooneryn - Sanguppiddy A-32 road hit the streets
after the comments made by Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka at
a function held at the Gajaba Regimental Headquarters in Saliyapura
Anuradhapura, that the LTTE sent their hard core cadres to Pooneryn to
block the possible routes to Pooneryn within the past few days.
But the LTTE has shown its incapability to deploy hardcore cadres all
along the defenses to cover the Pooneryn sector to stop the advance of
the troops, according to the revelation made by female LTTE cadres
captured by the troops in Valayakudiyrippumoddai area in the South of
Pooneryn and Paranthan road on Tuesday.
According to the revelation made by an English teacher turned Tiger
cadre, an English teacher attached to Paranthan Maha Vidayalaya and
drawing her salary form the Education Department, 100 such teachers and
government servants have been forced to man the defences in the Pooneryn
If the LTTE is not lying about its capability, it is obvious that
they are not in a position to keep its strength in the backyards of
their strongholds. The Security Forces have already reached the turning
point of the battle as by now as the Tiger outfit is not in a position
to manage its cadres to man their frontlines.
If they cannot deploy the cream of their cadres at a time they are
going to lose one of the key strongholds, Pooneryn, they are at an utter
loss in defending their strongholds as losing Pooneryn is a bigger blow
for them than losing Kilinochchi.
operating in the Mannar-Pooneryn A-32 road near 8th milepost
Pictures by Rukmal Gamage
It is because they are losing the entire Western coast on the
Security Forces and losing their capability to keep sea lines of
communication across the Western coast with the South Indian side.
Moreover, the Security Forces will be able to open a land route to
Jaffna through Mannar - Pooneryn A-32 road relieving a heavy burden on
the defence expenditure of the country.
Further the Security Forces will be able to relieve more than a
Division strength from the Jaffna peninsula to strengthen the presence
in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu district to expedite their military
operations. Therefore, the speedy march of the 58 Division commanded by
Brigadier Shavendra Silva has become a real headache for the LTTE
leadership as a majority of its total strength has been
deployed to hold the defence lines in the South and South West of
Kilinochchi to stop the advance of the troops towards Pooneryn.
With the loss of Pooneryn, the LTTE is losing its capability to
control the Jaffna peninsula through their long range artillery guns
located at the edge of Pooneryn. At the verge of losing Pooneryn the
LTTE has reportedly shift their 130 mm artillery guns from Pooneryn via
Pooneryn Paranthan road. That was why their guns were kept silent when
Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka visited Jaffna on Tuesday.
According to military sources the LTTE has shifted these guns to
North East of Kilinochchi town to control the troops advance into
Pooneryn and Kilinochchi from the Western flank.
By yesterday the troops attached to 58 Division cleared almost all
the areas on the Western coast except for Pooneryn and few land areas
south of Pooneryn.
It was on Wednesday night troops launched clearing operations to take
Devil’s Point and Vallaipadu the last LTTE
smuggling points on Western coast before Pooneryn under Security
Apart from this another column of troops of the 58 Division are also
now operating closer to Pooneryn Paranthan road in certain areas and are
ready to cut off the road at any moment in the coming few days. So a
handful number of dates are left for the troops to take control of
Pooneryn the last bastion on the Western coast.
As one section of the troops heads towards the North the 56 Division
operating in the Omanthai area has cleared the LTTE defence line in
Omanthai whilst troops attached to the newly formed Task Force III under
the command of Brigadier Satayapriya Liyanage have also launched their
operations form the North West of Mankulam and captured more than a
three Kilometre stretch on the A-9 road in Panikkankulam area amidst
stiff resistance from the LTTE.
However, the LTTE has not been able to stop the advance of troops
with its depleting strength and firepower. The 57 Division operating in
the south and west of Kilinochchi also have reached closer to
Kilinochchi town and close to enter the build up area in the Kilinochchi
town from two directions.
According to ground troops they can see some of the buildings in the
Kilinochchi town from the distance they are operating at present. They
are poised reach enter Kilinochchi town at any moment the Army Commander
thinks is appropriate for them to do so.
The Mullaitivu battlefront also got a boost on Wednesday, as 59
troops crossed a massive open terrain in the West of Nayaru lagoon
between Thannimurippukulam and Kumulamunai to take control of
Kumulamunai village which is the first village after they passed the
Andanakulam forest reserve in the South of Mullaitivu.
The 11 Gemunu Watch battalion under the command of Lt. Colonel
Priyanka Fernando which was operating south of Nayaru lagoon entered
Kumulamunai village after the troops attached to 7 Gemunu Watch
battalion and 14 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment captured the 11 Km long
Tiger bunker line from Thannimurippukulam to Kumulamunai. The 7 Gemunu
Watch battalion is now under the command of Lt. Colonel Chaminda
Lamahewa who assumed duties yesterday as the Commanding Officer of the
battalion after Lt. Colonel Priyantha Perera took over as the Brigade
Commander of the 631 Brigade of the Task Force III.
The entry of troops into Kumulamunai village is a big blow to the
LTTE as troops can now move into Mullaitivu through a built-up area. The
59 Division has marched more than 16 Kilometres to reach the Kumulamunai
village passing a thick jungle area in the Andanakulam forest reserve.
This is the first time the Security Forces had reached Kumulamunai
after commencing operations from the Weli Oya sector south of
With these developments, it is imminent that the Omanthai Entry Exit
Point would be shifted northwards most probably to the south of
Oddusudan once troops take the entire area in the south of Mankulam
under their control very soon.
According to sources, the Sri Lanka Army has intimated to the
International Committee of Red Cross to be prepared to function in the
south of Oddusudan to facilitate the functions at the Entry Exit Point.
It was amidst this situation the LTTE has taken steps to deploy armed
civilians to replace its depleting strength. According to ground troops,
many of the Tiger cadres operating there lacked knowledge on what is
going on in the battlefront and were not aware of the presence of the
troops as almost all their major defence lines which gave some sort of
idea about the areas under their control, have been captured by the
troops by this time.
If the true picture is given about the situation, according to ground
troops, the LTTE has once again switched to creating human shields in
the Wanni pumping civilians who had undergone weapons training to the
frontlines keeping them completely under darkness about what is going on
in the battlefront.
So troops operating in some areas close to Mankulam have been
confronting with a section of armed cadres manning bunker lines after
being dumped by the LTTE apparently after giving them only basic weapons
training. There is no distinction between these cadres and the civilians
once their weapons are removed from them if they get killed in
confrontations with the Security Forces.
The revelation by the English teacher turned Tiger cadre captured by
the 58 Division troops is a classic example for this. Like her many
innocent civilians forcibly kept by them inside the Wanni are facing
same destiny at the hands of the LTTE.
What the LTTE is trying at this moment is to make use of the civilian
population entrapped in the Wanni, to achieve multiple objectives. They
can deploy these civilians to defend their forward defence lines in
Mankulam and in the areas close to A-9 road and also in other areas
whilst deploying their hardcore cadres to confront with the troops where
there are no major defence lines.
On the other hand they can put the blame on the Security Forces after
categorising these cadres as civilians once they get killed in
confrontations. Therefore, the situation has prompted the relevant
authorities to think twice about the civilian population now being fed
by the Government after sending them food and other essential items in
UN convoys as their destiny is not clear, deep inside the uncleared
areas in Wanni.
The international community who is very much concerned about the
plight of these civilians should seriously consider as to whether they
should be kept under Tiger control. They should put pressure on the LTTE
to let the civilians go out of this conflict affected areas for their
own safety without becoming the part of the human shield created by the
They should be aware of the fact that the LTTE as the most ruthless
terror outfit in the world will not spare a single civilian life to
defend themselves from the advancing troops, as history itself proves
the fact that they have no regard for humanity when it comes to its
This situation has to be taken very seriously, as the Wanni
liberation is reaching one of the most decisive phases in the coming
week in which the LTTE will be left with no other option but to accept
their humiliating defeat at the hands of the Security Forces.
So the time is ripe to take precautionary measures to make sure that
the LTTE would not make use of the civilian population as a shield to
defend themselves from the advancing troops.
Army’s kindness perfect antidote to Tigers’ inhumanity
Surrendered female cadres tell a tale of woe:
Terrorists are terrorists only when holding weapons. They become
civilians once they give up arms. It is incumbent on the Security Forces
in accordance with the internationally accepted norms to treat them
accordingly whether they are on the battlefront or somewhere else.
The 58 Division troops under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva
exhibited their humane qualities once again even at a time they were
fighting the enemy, even at the risk of their life to give the
terrorists due treatment once they give up arms.
It was a heavily fortified defence line that the troops of the 582
Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Sanajay Wanigasinghe had to
capture to clear their route towards Pooneryn. They had to cross a huge
open terrain to reach this LTTE defence line in the form of a ditch.
They opted to cross this open terrain during the night as it is
difficult to get any cover from the enemy during day time.
treating the captured female LTTE cadres
Fierce fighting erupted in the Tiger defence line as they moved into
the area. More than 30 Tiger cadres were reportedly killed in the fierce
battle that erupted in the Valayakudiyurippumoddai area some six
Kilometres East of A-32 road.
Pin drop silence ensued there soon after the leader of the LTTE
killed himself to avoid being captured by the advancing troops. All guns
went silent after the fierce battle. Troops were now ready to search the
area and collecting bodies of the dead cadres and their weapons.
They found three female cadres still alive in the trench line. They
were willing to surrender. Troops could easily have killed them and gone
away. No one is there to question them about their deaths. But they took
a chance, though it was risky to reach armed cadres soon after a fierce
battle. They took the three female Tiger cadres under their custody.
One female cadre was having a gun shot injury in her hand and other
two were in good form. The troops of the 12 Gemunu Watch under the
command of Nandana Dunuwila took care of the female cadres. They were
taken to the Advanced Dressing Station and given medical care to them.
The startling revelation came only when they were interrogated by the
Security Forces. One female cadre spoke in English. The 58 division
Commander himself questioned the female cadre as she spoke good English.
She was an English teacher attached to Paranthan Maha Vidyalaya and
forced to join the LTTE ranks to avoid her teenage brother and sister
being enlisted to the LTTE as the LTTE demand at least one member from
each family to the outfit.
Upon interrogation the English teacher revealed that she was drawing
her salary from the Education Department though she is serving the LTTE.
“There are more than 100 of my batchmates serving the LTTE as they have
been forced to do by the LTTE as they forcibly kept the civilians in
Wanni against their wish,” she said when she was interrogated.
She also admits that though they are being fed by the Government and
drawing salaries from the Government they have been forced to fight the
Security Forces of the same Government. Most Government servants are
forced to do so in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.
She was surprised when the 58 Division Commander Brigadier Shavendra
Silva told her, “You were a terrorist. But you are not a terrorist now
from the time you give up weapons. We consider you as a Sri Lankan and a
sister”. That was not the picture given to them by the LTTE.
She is now willing to tell the true picture of the LTTE and to say
that LTTE is only engaged in a losing battle and they will not be able
to win this battle.
This will be a good eye opener for the international community
especially to the Human Rights activists to decide who is genuinely
concerned about human rights and who is not.