Troops capture Elephant Pass:
Road to Jaffna open
The Security Forces made a historic move after fully capturing the
Jaffna -Kandy highway connecting the south with the Jaffna peninsula
after a lapse of 23 years.
Troops of the 53 and 55 Divisions with the support of the 58 Division
took full control of the strategically important Elephant Pass by
yesterday afternoon, President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced yesterday.
The President said by this move the Security Forces were able to
connect people in Dondra Head with the people in Point Pedro after 23
years in an environment sans terrorism making a bridge of peace between
the South and the North.
“This is one of the historic moves by the Security Forces,” the
The 53 Division under the command of Brigadier Kamal Gunaratne and
the 55 Division under the command of Brigadier Prasanna Silva advancing
from Muhamalai and Kilali front reached this historic moment yesterday
afternoon after they linked up with the troops of the 58 Division who
had taken control of the Elephant Pass south by Tuesday.
The 58 division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva
cleared the path for the 53 Division and 55 Division to move towards the
South of Jaffna peninsula compelling LTTE cadres to vacate many of the
areas they held in the southern part of the Jaffna peninsula.
“We offer our heartiest gratitude to the Security Forces who reached
this historic victory making the year 2009 an year of military
victories,” the President added. He recalled that the people of this
country heard the fall of Paranthan, Kilinochchi and now the Elephant
Pass with the dawn of the year 2009.
With the capture of Elephant Pass, troops were able to clear 96
kilometre stretch of the A-9 road between Omanthai and Muhamalai after
two years of military operations in Vanni and in the Northern battle
According to military officials this is the first time the A-9 road
is open upto Jaffna under military control after Security Forces lost
control of it after the departure of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in
the late 1980 s. The Security Forces lost control of Elephant Pass in
April, 2000 which goes into the history as the biggest setback of the
Sri Lanka Army.
President Rajapaksa said that 353 soldiers were killed, 359 reported
missing in action and over 2,500 soldiers injured during the Elephant
Pass withdrawal in April 2000. “It is after nine years troops are taking
control of Elephant Pass from the clutches of the LTTE,” the President
The Sri Lanka Army lost its most senior Deputy General Officer
Commanding the 54 Division Brigadier Percy Fernando and three Brigade
Commanders Lt. Colonel Bhathiya Jayatilleke, Haris Hewaarachchi and Neil
Akmeemana during the Elephant Pass withdrawal in the year 2000.
It was Major General Denzil Kobbekaduwa who commanded the troops to
liberate Elephant Pass camp once the LTTE lay siege to it in July 10,
The troops under the command of Major General Denzil Kobbekaduwa
inducted in Vettilaikerni on July 14 finally liberated the camp on
August 4, 1991.
The Elephant Pass camp also goes into the military history with the
supreme sacrifice made by Corporal Hasalaka Gamini who sacrificed his
life to defend of the Army camp from the explosive laden bulldozer that
was coming into the camp in 1991. He was posthumously decorated with the
highest gallantry award for his sacrifice.
A historical chronology:
* 1983 - The Sri Lanka Army establishes a detachment.
* 1991 - July 14 LTTE launches a massive attack on the Elephant Pass
* 1991 - July 14,Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment rifleman Gamini Kularatne
made the supreme sacrifice to defend Elephant Pass camp immobilising the
explosive laden LTTE bulldozer that came into the camp. He was
posthumously awarded the highest gallantry award PWN (Parama Weera
* 1991 - August 4, The LTTE attempt to take the Elephant Pass base
was beaten back by the troops led by Major General Denzil Kobbekaduwa
with the conduct of Operation Balaveghaya.
* 2000 - April 22, LTTE attacks Iyakachchi and Elephant Pass military
complexes and the troops withdrew as the LTTE cut off fresh water supply
to the military complex from Iyakachchi junction.
* 2009 - January 06, Troops attached to 58 Division re-capture
Elephant Pass South.
* 2009 - January 09, Troops re-capture entire Elephant Pass.