Several small attack teams of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) moved ahead of their defense lines in Weli-Oya (referred to as Manal-Aru by the tigers) to conduct a pre emptive strike on LTTE positions on the FDL, yesterday (11th) noon. This limited operation was aimed at dismantling LTTE defenses in Kokkuthiduwai region. At least 9 LTTE cadres have been killed during the operation and 4 SLA soldiers too have been wounded. As capturing land was not an objective of this operation, all SLA units have returned to their original positions. Spearheading the assaults in Weli Oya sector are soldiers of the 59th division. Newly raised 59th division is an offensive formation modeled after the 57th division and elite 53rd division.
LTTE previously reinforced this area fearing a mass scale army invasion into Wanni from Weli-Oya sector. The Army, instead of marching into the heavily fortified defenses in Weli Oya, opened the Mannar front to divert LTTE attention. Yesterday's limited operation shows the Army's intent to fight on multiple fronts. SLA are exploiting a weakness in LTTE outfit as their current manpower and ammunition shortage makes it difficult for them to fight on two different battlefronts. This fact was earlier revealed by former LTTE colonel Karuna Amman.
Weli-Oya sector holds bitter past memories for the LTTE; One of their previous attempts to overrun the area went terribly wrong when the army thwarted the operation with an extraordinary kill ratio of 1:250 . Nearly 500 LTTE bodies (majority of LTTE casualties being child soldiers) were scattered near the FDL when SLA forces commanded by Major General Janaka Perera halted the LTTE offensive losing merely 2 soldiers. However,one should not expect the same type of kill ratios to be achieved in a new offensive in Weli Oya area. Although the army has the upper hand, LTTE too has heavily fortified defense lines (in this case 3 of them), which are manned by experienced cadres. According to military intelligence, defenses of the area were personally inspected by LTTE leader himself just a few months ago.
Meanwhile LTTE's elite Charles Anthony regiment offered heavy resistance to SLA forces conducting operations near Mannar defense lines. Both parties have suffered losses in latest rounds of fighting with the bulk of them being LTTE casualties. So far the Charles Anthony regiment have launched several medium scale operations with the intent of recapturing lost ground. They however have so far had little or no success against SLA's Commando and Special Forces units in the frontline. Not only have the army been able to hold onto every inch of newly gained ground but they at one point stormed a Charles Anthony brigade bunker killing at least 6 cadres who were inside.