Kilinochchi's Moment of truth
President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a historic visit to Kilinochchi,
considered to be the first ever done by a Head of State.Kilinochchi, the
so-called political headquarters of the LTTE fell on January 2, 2009 as
the Security Forces brought the entire town and its immediate environs
under their full control.
The President’s Men: President Mahinda Rajapaksa commending
the courage and commitment of the troops.
The surprise visit by the President had lasted more than three hours,
where he had visited many important locations within the city, including
the hospital and soldiers barracks. According to sources, he had walked
freely in the streets, personally inspecting several sites.
The President had reportedly arrived in Kilinochchi around 7.30 a.m.,
in a helicopter, after making a brief stop at Vavuniya.
He had personally looked into facilities provided to soldiers and
The President's goodwill visit coincided with the traditional Sinhala
and Tamil New Year. He met with the troops, IDPs and other civilians in
the area. Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Chief of Defence
Staff (CDS) Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, Army Commander Lieutenant
General Sarath Fonseka, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda,
Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramarathne had also accompanied
President in Kilinochchi
According to a member of his entourage, the President had personally
inspected the town visiting several important locations within the city.
The town's main water tank (destroyed by the fleeing LTTE cadres),
had come under close scrutiny of the President.
Also former LTTE political headquarters building, Peace Secretariat
building too had been visited. Later the President had made a visit to
the 58 division headquarters, and the soldiers' barracks in the
immediate vicinity, to the surprise and delight of fores personnel.
He had paid special attention over facilities provided for the
soldiers, while personally visiting their lodgings. During the visit he
had personally observed the operations room in the 58 Division
Headquarters and also had viewed aerial visuals on the 'No Fire Zone'
obtained from UAV's.
The President had later gone to the Kilinochchi hospital, spending
time with the injured soldiers and other civilians. He had distributed
gift packs, after having a traditional New Year meal consisting of 'Kiribath
and Kevum' with the hospital inmates.
During the occasion, the GOC of 57 Division, Major General Jagath
Dias and 58 Division GOC Brigadier Shavendra Silva had briefed the
President regarding recent military achievements. According to sources,
the President on the occasion had also paid close attention to the
prevailing situation in the 'No Fire Zone' and plans ahead with regards
to freeing trapped civilians.
Later addressing the troops stationed in the area, the President
commended their courage and commitment. While saying that their selfless
dedication had brought the present victories, he had urged the soldiers
to continue the good work as victory was at hand.
The President had also emphasised the importance of safeguarding
innocent civilians and ensuring them a safe passage to escape from the
During his visit, the President had also visited Vavuniya and had
addressed troops located in the area. He had also advised officials to
expedite relief and welfare activities with maximum efficiency.
For a major period during the past three decades, the LTTE has given
Kilinochchi a symbolic importance, calling it their administrative
capital, even though the Government had been running most civil
administrative functions including banking, healthcare, trade, education
The LTTE first took hold of the town in 1990, when the Army withdrew
its forces from the area. Then later the security forces once again
regained control of Kilinochchi during operation Sathjaya 1, 11 and 111
in 1996. The Kilinochchi town fell into terrorist hands once again in
September 1998, and has been their administrative nerve centre until
forces liberated the area fully in January 2, 2009.