B. Muralidhar Reddy
LTTE strongholds till Mankulam destroyed
Tigers’ leader in Batticaloa, Kalai Maduran, killed
COLOMBO: Sri Lankan troops on Monday claimed to have captured Kokavil — an LTTE “strategic location in Mullathivu.
A Defence Ministry statement said 57th Division troops reached a “long-awaited milestone on their march into terrorist dens in Wanni with the liberation” of Kokavil town. It said an offensive was launched on Sunday, extending the Army’s forward boundaries towards the east of the A-9 (Jaffna-Kandy) Road. “Infantrymen of the 57th Division first reached the A-9 at a location few kilometres north of the Kokavil town and then turned the thrust southwards, destroying all remaining LTTE strongholds down to Mankulam. This is the first time after 18 years Army gained full control over this area.”
Kokavil is associated with the memory of Lieutenant Saliya Upul Aladeniya, the last officer in charge of the isolated camp Kokavil in 1990.
With only two platoons, Lieutenant Aladeniya defended the camp for one month without any reinforcement before the LTTE overran it in July 1990, said the Ministry.
Separately, the Air Force claimed to have launched successive air raids at three identified LTTE resistance positions 7.5 km northeast of Akkarayankulama in Kilinochchi. It further said the Batticaloa South LTTE leader, Kalai Maduran, has been killed. The eastern province has witnessed several killings and abductions in past few weeks.
On Saturday, the military conducted a massive combing operation in search of suspected LTTE cadre.
“Security forces and police have also increased combined search operations and security patrols with the surge of sabotage activities and killings perpetrated by elements of LTTE in the east. Terrorists are constantly attempting to disrupt normalcy and civilian administration in the east as the outfit is running out of options against the advancing military forces in Wanni and north,’ said the military.
Pro-LTTE TamilNet has alleged that a six-year-old child was killed and a man injured on Saturday when the Army fired artillery shells, targeting Hudson Road in Kilinochchi.