B. Muralidhar Reddy
COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan military on Sunday claimed to have overrun the LTTE’s ‘last major defence’ south of Kilinochchi, the LTTE’s administrative headquarters.
For several days now, the military and the LTTE have been engaged in pitched battles in Kilinochchi’s vicinity.
However, the military conceded that its march towards Kilinochchi has slowed down due to heavy rain.
“It is a matter of days before the troops enter Kilinochchi town,” said a senior military officer.
A Defence Ministry statement said the 57th Division’s soldiers ‘pierced’ LTTE-built ‘earth-bunds’ in Akkarayankulam — the LTTE’s ‘last major defence’ south of Kilinochchi. It claimed 19 fortified bunkers had been overrun since Saturday.
“Troops launched the offensives around 5.45 a.m. with two main thrusts attacking the west and the east of Akkarayankulam Tank. Infantryman moving from the west of the tank scored a major success against the terrorists with the capture of a 2-km stretch on the earth-bund and the 19 terror bunkers,” it said. Soldiers moving from the east of Akkarayankulam Tank had to slow down at the initial stages as the LTTE launched “poisonous gas attacks,” claimed the Ministry.
Many soldiers have died and others injured in the battles, said the military. The LTTE suffered “significant attrition in terms [of] men and material, and at present, troops are moving into LTTE hiding areas north of Akkarayankulam Tank,” said the Ministry.
Task Force 1, deployed on the left flank of the 57th Division, had moved further into Nachchikudha “terror stronghold,” it added.
There were many clashes in the Nachchikudha, Vannerikulam and Manniyakkulam areas and the LTTE suffered heavy damages.
The LTTE was making a “desperate attempt to retain their last major foothold on the northwestern coast of the island, which is the vital lifeline for the terror outfit across the Palk Strait,” said the Ministry. Separately, a soldier was injured following an LTTE small-arms attack on Sunday in Varahana, Yala.
7 months ago