Monday, March 31, 2008

Sea tiger base bombed: Mullaithiv

Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets bombed a sea tiger base located in Alampil in LTTE stronghold of Mullaithiv district yesterday. The raids which were made yesterday afternoon, are reported to be accurate. No casualty details are available as of yet. The Air Force has shown more activity in the past week with its fighter jets and gunships both assisting the ground forces, even amidst bad weather conditions.

Meanwhile continuous rain in Mannar has greatly affected the ongoing operations by the army. The flood like situation and soggy ground conditions have made the deployment of armored vehicles near impossible. Ground forces advance has also slowed down as trenches dug and death traps set by the LTTE are now covered with water and are not easily visible. However against all odd the army captured LTTE controlled Ilantheevan, located to the south of Adampan junction on the 29th.

Meanwhile more than 500 soldiers have so far fallen to Chikengunya and Dengu diseases due to the worsening sanitary conditions in the front lines affected by rain. Necessary steps are being taken to prevent the spread of such diseases and reserve forces have been deployed in the affected areas.

Around two weeks ago Military Intelligence received fresh intel on the massive trench that is been dug in the northern FDL to stop the Mechanized Infantry Brigade which the tigers apparently consider to be a great threat. The multi layered trench complex with iron fences and reinforced concrete are supposed to not only stop the heavy armor from storming tiger defenses but the tigers are also planning to capture any vehicles that fall into them. Mechanized Infantry brigade has changed its strategy and future plans based on the new intel.

Friday, March 28, 2008

SLAF attacks 4 LTTE targets in two days

The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has carried four sorties on LTTE targets located in the northern province during the past two days (26th and 27th). An LTTE training facility located in jungles north of Iranamadu and an LTTE radar post south of Pooneryn was raided by bombers of the SLAF 10th fighter squadron and 5th jet squadron yesterday (27th) morning . Bombers also raided an LTTE boatyard in Vishwamadukulam, Kilinochchi on the 26th.

Meanwhile in the Mannar front. two Mi-24 helicopter gunships of the 9th attack helicopter squadron assisted the ground forces by launching a series of attacks on LTTE positions in the region. Two forward operating bases in Alankulama and Kaliadanchan were attacked by the gunships.Forward Operating Bases (FOB) are secured positions on or near the Forward Defence Line (FDL) which are used for support role.

Meanwhile 32 LTTE cadres have been killed in fighting in Mannar, Weli-Oya and Jaffna fronts which took place on the 26th. Another 18 more are believed to be wounded. 8 Army soldiers too have been killed and 21 more have been wounded in the clashes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

SLAF bombs Mullaithiv

Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) fighter jets bombed an LTTE military installation located in Uddayak-Kattukulama, Mullaithiv today at 9.20AM. The raid was carried out following military intelligence reports of LTTE maintaining an ammunition storage at the target location. Although fighter pilots have confirmed accurate hits on the target, exact details on damages caused to LTTE assets or lives are not available as of now.

Meanwhile intelligence reports from LTTE held Wanni indicated that  3 LTTE cadres have been killed and 8 more injured when SLAF bombed a sea tiger base north of Nayaru lagoon on the 22nd.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Heavy fighting in Mannar amidst bad weather

Despite continuous rain, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been engaged in firefights in the Mannar front for the last few days. Heaviest fighting was reported in the area between Parayakulam and Illanthevan where the troops gained control of around 1 square km area last Saturday (24th).

Pro LTTE media put SLA casualty figures at 55 killed and 120 injured. Our sources flatly deny these claims. The actual SLA casualty figures are less than one third of what is claimed by Pro LTTE site. In Parayakulam, 8 LTTE bunkers were overrun during the fighting. Bodies of 10 LTTE cadres which had been left behind when the tigers pulled back from the bunkers were later found by the army. Fighting was also reported in Vavuniya, Weli Oya and Nagarkovil fronts. For the last three days, total confirmed LTTE deaths incurred from fighting at these three fronts exceed 40. At least 5 of the kills were made by army snipers deployed at northern front and at Weli Oya front. The number of LTTE injured is not exactly known.

Mannar front is probably the most affected by the recent rains. Army operations in this area will be reduced until the weather improves. There are many threats posed by the continuous rain; The wet and muddy ground is a nightmare for armored corps. Maneuverability of heavy vehicles becomes much more difficult in soggy ground. In addition to this, it is near impossible to detect enemy trenches and deathtraps if the area is flooded by water; this is lethal to vehicles and soldiers alike. Usually, the locations where mines are placed are mapped by the party which places them. However, if the rains are heavy, the gushing water could change the location of buried mines. If this happens, the whole mining and mapping process will have to be repeated. Last but not least, flooding is bound to worsen the sanitary conditions in the affected area. This can cause the spreading of water borne diseases.

Note: When the comment count exceeds 200, blogger automatically places new comments in a new page. Click on the "Newest" link in top or bottom of the comments sections to read latest comments.



Saturday, March 22, 2008

SLN loses UFAC in the seas off Nayaru

One Ultra Fast Attack Craft (UFAC) of the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) was destroyed today dawn in an explosion that occurred near the seas off Nayaru coastline. 10 sailors on board have gone missing after the incident. 6 more who were on board have been rescued by another FAC deployed in the area. The rescued personnel which included the officer in charge of the craft had managed to get into a life boat before it submerged.

The source of the explosion is not 100% confirmed as of yet. According to the rescued sailors, the craft was rocked by a blast that severely damaged its hull. However pro LTTE media reported that the UFAC was destroyed in a suicide attack and admitted the loss of 3 suicide cadres.

Military intelligence had previously uncovered that Norwegian ex special forces members provided underwater demolitions training to LTTE cadres in Thailand. In addition to this information it is suspected that LTTE smuggled in a few underwater scooters during the ceasefire period. Additionally, LTTE are known to use several different types of sea mines including floating mines.



The craft destroyed is an UFAC- III type vessel which is commonly known as Colombo Class Series III. It can achieve speeds up to 53 knots and can carry a crew of 16. Typhoon 25-30mm cannons, Oerlikon 20mm cannons, 12.7mm machine guns and 7.62mm machine guns can be mounted on a UFAC-III. However not all SLN FACs are fitted to their full potential.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka Air Force hit a sea tiger base north of Nayaru lagoon today morning. No reports of damages caused by the air raid are available as of now.

In the Mannar front, troops have gained control of a 1 square kilometer area between Parayakulam and Illanthevan amidst bad weather conditions. Continuous rains have slowed down military operations in the area, a situation which was expected.

Friday, March 21, 2008

STF commando killed in LTTE attack : Ampara

One police Special Task Force (STF) personnel was in a clash between LTTE and STF in Lahugala jungle, Ampara, yesterday. Both parties exchanged small arms fire in the clash which began at around 11.30 in the night. The STF personnel who was critically injured in the incident, succumbed to his injuries in Ampara hospital. There are no reports of LTTE casualties.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers deployed in the Mannar front continued to carry out limited offensives against LTTE targets in Adampan and Munakkathirichchi regions while braving bad weather conditions. Of all the SLA elements affected by bad weather, perhaps the worst affected are the armored corps. Heavy armor such such as infantry fighting vehicles and battle tanks are difficult to maneuver in soggy ground conditions created by continuous rain.

In Weli-Oya front troops of the army's 59th division engaged LTTE targets in Kokkuthuduvai and Andankulama regions, killing at least 7 LTTE cadres.

Meanwhile the Pilleyan faction of TMVP has requested removal of  all STF camps in eastern province before the provincial council elections.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tigers shell Thirukkeatheesvaram : Mannar

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) directed a heavy artillery barrage at SLA controlled Thirukkeatheesvaram in Mannar. Thirukkeatheesvaram is inside the High Security Zone declared by the army. However DefenceNet learns that reports by pro LTTE media which claimed the Forward Defence Lines in this region being broken were inaccurate. Also, there were no ground clashes in the area despite the artillery duels. Thirukkeatheesvaram is located near SLA's Thalladi army base which the tigers targeted in a previous shelling.

Fighting however was reported in areas north of Pallekuli yesterday morning. At least 6 LTTE cadres were reported to be killed in the incident. 4 SLA soldiers too were injured. Two LTTE bunkers were overrun during fighting.

Meanwhile an SLA soldier was killed in a roadside claymore mine explosion in Ka'limoaddai, Mannar.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Historic Battles : Battle for Elephant Pass - 1991

This is the first of a series of articles revisiting the most decisive battles of the Eelam Wars.

As most of you know, Operation Balavegaya was not an operation that was aimed at capturing new territory. It's main objective was to save the lives of 800 army personnel who were trapped in army's Elephant Pass Base Complex (EPS), under siege by LTTE formations.

Unlike in the early 2000s, EPS garrison did not include thousands of army soldiers. It only had 800 men from the Sinha Regiment (SR). On the 10th of July 1991, a 5000 strong LTTE force (approximate number) launched a large scale attack on EPS base complex. Not only was the invasion force massive in numbers, LTTE had planned the attack to perfection. Anti aircraft guns were strategically placed so that no helicopter could land in supplies nor evacuate casualties from the base.  Armor plated bulldozers fitted with machine guns and armor plated tractors were used break through the army lines with LTTE minimum casualties. Not only did they broke through SLA defenses but the sinister looking bulldozers sent the morale of the defenders to an all time low.


Image: Armor plated Bulldozer used by LTTE in EPS battle. Corporal Gamini Kularathne (PWV) destroyed the machine using two hand grenades when it tried to break into the inner part of the base. Corporal Kularathne succumbed to injuries suffered during the incident. 

Unlike today, the army did not have a clear answer to LTTE's 'human waves' strategy back then. Wave after wave of LTTE cadres pounded the camp's southern defence lines while LTTE mortars rained into the base premises. LTTE forces which outnumbered the garrison in EPS 6 to 1, were meeting with unexpected resistance from the SR soldiers defending the base. Although the soldiers were holding off the LTTE in the southern front, the situation was looking grim for SLA in the long term due to lack of supplies and inability to transport casualties.

During the second day of fighting, the smaller 'Rest House Camp' to the south of the base complex fell the the LTTE. By this time, Major Lalith Buddhadasa who was the second in command of the base had also died due to shrapnel injuries received from an LTTE mortar.  Due to the strategic placement of LTTE's AA cannons, SLAF could not land in any helicopters. The only help SLAF could offer the defending soldiers was to air drop supplies into the base. Although majority of the supplies fell into the base as planned, some were retrieved by the LTTE.

After four days of bitter fighting, LTTE forces showed no signs of slowing down. This was when (14th of July) Major General Densil Kobbekaduwa and Brigadier Wijaya Wimalarathna launched operation Balavegaya. Operation Balavegaya, which involved 10000 SLA troops, was the largest army operation at he time since Operation Vimukthi. 1 Sinha Regiment (SR), 3,4 Gajaba Regiment (GR) and 3 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI), Sri Lanka Artillery and Armored corps were the formations that took part in the operation.

Since there was no clear land route to EPS from government controlled territory, it was decided that an amphibious landing was necessary. A location some 10km to the east of EPS (Vettilakarni) was chosen as the landing point. LTTE which had early information on the army's move, resisted the amphibious landing fiercely. The first attempt to land troops failed as a consequence. However it was a matter of time till the army secured Vettilakarni under the command of Major General Vijaya Wimalarathna. Vettilakarni was then used as a launching pad for the march towards EPS.

The LTTE which had the territorial advantage continued to resist the army advance. This however eased the pressure on EPS, although the base was still in danger of being overrun. Fighting continued for 17 more days in this fashion, with LTTE put on the defence and SLA backed by SLAF trying to reach EPS. Finally, on the 3rd of August at approximately 5PM, vanguard of Operation Balavegaya reached Elephant Pass Base premises. A combined effort of the relief force and the SR soldiers in EPS garrison saw the LTTE retreat their fighters and thus siege which the LTTE leader had nicknamed 'Mother of All Battles" was broken. This was considered as the best victory by the armed forces until the capture of Jaffna.

Although the battle was won, it wasn't without casualties; a total of 200 soldiers had given their lives for the motherland during the entire battle. More than 500 others were injured. LTTE casualties on the other hand were much higher. According to LTTE released figures the number of LTTE deaths was 573 (450 male and 123 female). But well informed sources suggested that number of LTTE fighters killed was well over 800. A similar number was said to be injured.

EPS remained under SLA control for 9 more years after the initial incident. In 2000, the poorly lead and demoralized 54th division in EPS made a tactical withdrawal in the face of another LTTE siege and the base has since been under LTTE control. According to MI, LTTE does not maintain one major base at EPS but have built a series of smaller bases to better face an army advance. Army's 55th and 53rd division, which are now lead by true veterans, are currently probing rebel defence lines in the north showing the signs of an advance into Wanni in near future.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Army recovers 3 LTTE bodies: Weli Oya

Soldiers of the 59th division confronted with a group of LTTE cadres north of Janakapura (Anandamkula) Thursday evening. An LTTE bunker was stormed by the soldiers during the fight, resulting in the death of 3 LTTE cadres. Two T-56 rifles, three hand grenades and a radio unit were found by the troops after a search operation in the area. Bodies of the 3 LTTE cadres killed were also recovered.

Clashes were also reported in Vavuniya in Karampaikulam and Vilayanikulam regions. 2 more LTTE bodies have been recovered by the troops following in the incidents. Two T-56 rifles were also recovered.

Meanwhile yet another valiant soldier of the army fell to an LTTE AP (Anti personnel) mine in the Mannar front on Tuesday (11th). SLA Captain Keerthi Ranawaka passed away at the hospital, due to the serious nature of his injuries caused by the mine. Majority of SLA casualties in Mannar front are caused by AP mines, which have also slowed down the advance into Wanni.

Images: Magnetic Bomb

With recent findings by the Military Intelligence (MI), there has been renewed interest on the so called magnetic bomb.

Click on the image to view entire collection.



This is not an entirely new technology as a similar type of bomb was used to blast the vehicle of a VIP few years ago. However the bomb seems to have been improved over time. The 'easiness' of planting this bomb onto a vehicle with an unsuspecting driver, is alarming. Recent discovery of a magnetic bomb coupled with the recent uncovering of an LTTE plot to blow up a fuel tanker, only calls up for more vigilance among civilians.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Air Force bombs Mannar as ground troops make progress

Fighter jets of the Sri Lanka Air Force bombed 3 LTTE bases in Eastern and Northern Mannar yesterday (12th) morning. Three locations identified as command bases, storage complexes and medical centers of the LTTE were bombed in the raids. Although the jets have hit the targets accurately, no information about LTTE casualties are available so far.

Map image

Meanwhile SLA ground forces advancing towards LTTE held Wanni heartland made further inroads through LTTE defenses in the area. Advances were made in Puliyankulam and Chettikulam regions and also into LTTE held territory east of Cinnaodaippadu. The gains made in Puliyankulam are considered to be of great strategic importance as it borders the A-9 highway, one of the main supply routes (MSR) used by the tigers.

Meanwhile in Kontakkarankulam, an LTTE tractor transporting reinforcements was ambushed by SLA troops on the 11th at 6.30PM. 5 LTTE cadres were killed in this attack. In another development, five SLA soldiers were injured due to the detonation of an IED in Karampaikulam .

LTTE's strategy in this front has been to retreat when the army moves in and then and use IEDs, artillery and snipers to remotely attack new SLA positions. By implementing this strategy, the tigers are trying to avoid close quarters fighting and minimize casualties. This is because the tigers want to delay the army advance into Wanni for as long as possible. The army on the other hand is having the exact opposite objective; inflict maximum casualties on the tigers. Both these factors have contributed to the slowness of the army advance in the Mannar front.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Images: Brainwashing Episode 1

We posted links these on the comments section some while back but thought it deserved a separate post.

Click on the image to view entire collection.



The pictures are self explanatory.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Peaceful election in the East

Over 150000 voters cast their votes today in a key election in the Eastern province , marking the beginning of another decisive phase of the conflict in Sri Lanka. According to officials, 50-60% of registered voters in the Eastern province have cast their vote in this crucial election.

Military Intelligence had previously warned the government of LTTE plans to disrupt the proceedings of the election. According to MI reports, LTTE had deployed at least four cadres from its Black tiger regiment (suicide bombers) to target VIP movements of LTTE's rival factions in the area. Confirming these reports, one suicide bomber detonated an explosive laden jacket in Batticaloa on the 24th of February killing two members of the breakaway Pilleyan faction. Pilleyan himself is in LTTE's most wanted list due to his desertion in 2003.


Image: Pilleyan on his way to cast his vote. Three of his bodyguards can be seen in the background. Photo: Daily Mirror

Although LTTE attacks were anticipated, the polls have been concluded peacefully, apart from few minor incidents in Valachchenei area. Final election results are yet to be released. You can listen to election results online through Lakhanda Radio Web Cast

Meanwhile in a separate development in the Eastern province, police commandos of the Special Task Force (STF) gunned down three LTTE cadres in Kanchikudichciaru jungles. Two T-56 rifles, 1 AP mine and 1 claymore mine were among the weapons recovered by STF after the incident. Although LTTE bases in Ampara fell to the STF during operation Niyathai Jaya, pockets of LTTE cadres who fled the fighting are reportedly present in the dense jungles of Kanchikudichciaru.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Explosion in Wellawatte

An explosion was reported near Wellawatte Roxy cinema a short while ago. According to available information, the blast was caused by a parcel bomb.

1 person has been killed and 3 more have been wounded in the incident.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fighting in Mannar as attacks in Buttala continue

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched several small scale counterattacks against the advancing forces of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in the Parappakandal region yesterday. Although pro rebel media claimed high casualties for SLA in these incidents, our sources indicate that the attacks were neutralized with minimal casualties with the help of Air Force gunships and armored units. The army brought the entire Parappakandal area under their control on the 6th of March. LTTE is offering stiff resistance to the army advance in this front as the area contains one of their main supply routes to several major LTTE bases in Mannar district. 15 SLA soldiers have been killed and another 40 have been wounded in clashes in Parappakandal area during the past week. Although exact figures are unavailable, the LTTE too has suffered a significant number of casualties in these incidents.

In another development, LTTE leader Velupillei Prabhakaran made a public appearance after a long time during the funeral of K.Sivanesan. This appearance is likely to put an end to rumors of his leg being amputated, of him being on deathbed due to SLAF air strike and to some which even claimed his death.


Image: Prabhakaran at the funeral of K. Sivanesan. Photo : Tamilnet

Although the LTTE leader did receive injuries in one of SLAF's air raids, they were not life threatening according to our sources. MI reports also indicated that he escaped the attack on X-Ray base.

Meanwhile LTTE infiltrations in Monaragala district continued to trouble senior army officials as another tractor transporting SLA soldiers came under a claymore attack yesterday. The attack which occurred in Galge, Buttala, resulted in the death of one soldiers and two others being injured.

Note: Recently there had been many requests by bloggers to provide maps of ongoing fighting locations. Due to various limitations, providing maps are not always feasible for us. However our good friend 'The Long Ranger' has posted a detailed map and an article on 58th division's siege on Adampan. The article and map can be found here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Northern Parappakandal falls to the army

Soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), backed by artillery and MBRL fire, captured the northern Parappakandal area (Northwest of Mannar) today morning amidst heavy LTTE resistance. Parappakandal is an area of high strategic importance which is bordered by the Giant's tank (Yodha Wewa) and Uyiankulam-Andankulam road.

Ever since the army captured the Southern Parappakandal around two months ago, the SLA advance further north had been slowed down due to stiff rebel resistance. Army had intensified its attacks on LTTE defensive positions in Northern Parappakandal in the past two weeks with SLAF Mi-24 gunships joining the battle two times during this period.

Even in today's battle, the tigers offered 'heavier than usual' resistance to the advancing forces. According to MI, the Initial periods of the battle were coordinated by four of LTTE's senior leaders; Lakshman, Bhanu, Ramesh and Jeyam. LTTE resistance faded away as the troops breached LTTE defences in multiple locations during the latter part of the battle. SLA are now constructing defences in the newly captured areas.

TNA MP K.Sivanesan killed in Claymore blast

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian K. Sivanesan has been killed in a roadside claymore mine explosion which took place inside LTTE held Wanni region. His vehicle was caught in the explosion at a point between Puliynakulam and Manuklam regions (Kanagarayankulam) along the A-9 main road.

The MP and his driver have been killed in the attack while another sustained injuries. The vehicle too has been seriously damaged.

Sivanesan was returning to his home in Mallavi after attending the Parliment session in Colombo today.

Government releases SLA casualty figures for the month of February

The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) today released official casualty figures sustained by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in their operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). According to GOSL figures, 104 soldiers have been killed in battle and another 822 have been wounded in the month of February. 81 civilians too have perished while another 201 were wounded.

Casualty figures released today are in league with figures released by DefenceNet on the 17th of February [Second paragraph]. Although exact number of LTTE casualties are not available, DefenceNet learns that the number of LTTE cadres killed in February exceeds 400 (air, ground and sea losses combined). In addition to the deaths, a significant number of cadres have been wounded. According to Military Intelligence, LTTE cadres wounded in these battles are being treated in 9 major hospitals in uncleared areas.

The army is fighting along four major battlefronts in the hope of invading LTTE controlled Wanni heartland; Mannar front (58th division), Vavuniya front (57th division), Weli Oya front (59th division) and national front (Muhamalai/Nagarkovil/Kilali - 53rd and 55th division).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

5 LTTE cadres killed in Mi-24 attack : Mannar

LTTE positions north of Parappakandal, Mannar were attacked for the second time in two weeks by Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopter gunships yesterday evening. Several Mi-24 gunships of the 9th attack helicopter squadron were used in the attack. According to available intelligence information, 5 LTTE cadres have perished in the incident. Exact details of the number of cadres wounded are unavailable as of now. Heavy fighting has been raging in the areas north of Parappakandal for the past month where the tigers are fiercely resisting an army advance towards Wanni heartland.

SLAF's fighter jets bombed an LTTE underground artillery storage located in Pooneryn twice yesterday afternoon. In a separate raid carried out yesterday morning, one of their artillery launching pads located in Kalmunai point was also targeted.

LTTE artillery storage bombed : Pooneryn

Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets bombed an LTTE artillery storage located in the rebel held Pooneryn sector today afternoon. The initial air strike was carried out at 12PM while a second sortie followed at 2.30PM. Damages caused by the air strike are still unknown.

LTTE's heavy artillery guns (130mm and 152mm) have posed a significant threat to the Army in the 4th Eelam War. It is no secret that the guerillas smuggled in many artillery pieces and replenished ammo during the ceasefire agreement. Army's largest military complex in the north, the Palaly Military Base and the adjoining airstrip, come within LTTE artillery range when the rebels move the guns to Kalmunai Point (K-Point).

LTTE takes various countermeasure to save their artillery from SLA counter fire and SLAF air strikes. They almost always move the gun immediately after firing. Keeping the gun stationary would be deathwish as army's firefinder radars are able to pinpoint the location where artillery fire originated from. According to MI, the guns, when idle, are always placed in underground storage to avoid detection by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles of the SLAF. Recent observations have revealed that the LTTE are using an increasing number of fake guns as decoys to mislead aerial intelligence.

Meanwhile ground based intelligence sources have confirmed the LTTE death toll from fighting in Sinnaodaippu, Mannar on the 29th of February. 14 LTTE cadres have been killed and another 15 have been injured in the fighting. Army gained control of Sinnaodaippu sluice gates, which control the water supply to Mannar region, on the 29th after a fierce fight with LTTE formations lead by senior LTTE leader Laxshman. 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fighter jets bomb Oddusudan

Fighter jets of the Sri Lanka Air Force bombed a pre identified LTTE military installation located in Kulamarippu, north east of Oddusudan at 12.45PM today (3rd). According to military intelligence, guerillas have been using this base to coordinate communication among other major tiger bases in the region. Several transmission towers located in the base premises have also been destroyed in the air raid.

Meanwhile Military Intelligence (MI) have revealed LTTE casualty details in last week's SLAF attack in Mannar. SLAF used several Mi-24 gunships of the 9th attack helicopter squadron to launch an attack on LTTE defensive positions north of Parappakandal, Mannar. 7 LTTE cadres have been killed and another 10 more have been wounded in the air strike. This was the first time SLAF used its gunships to attack targets in this area where fierce fighting had been going on for days.

Due to the limited availability of resources, SLAF's primary role in the 4th Eelam War has so far been to hunt down LTTE leadership. This combined with the threat from LTTE anti aircraft cannons have prevented the air force from regularly deploying its gunships for close air support role (CAS) to assist ground troop movements.

Suspicious vessel did not belong to LTTE

It is now confirmed that the suspicious vessel detected in the seas of Mullaithiv is not a ship transporting arms to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) dispatched several of its fast attack craft and warships to investigate the vessel when its presence was detected for the first time close to midnight yesterday.

Apparently the ship was transporting illegal immigrants from Myanmar to Malaysia and was left stranded in the seas north est of Sri Lanka when it was hit by engine failure. Out of the 120 immigrants on board, nearly 40 have died due to the lack of essential supplies. The rest of the personnel on board have been rescued by the SLN.

Correction: The ship was transporting 91 passengers and 20 of them had died by the time the ship was discovered by SLN. Rest have been rescued. Several of the survivors too are in critical condition.

Update: The ship has been towed to the Trincomalee port.

History being repeated

On the 23rd of February, another civilian bloodbath was averted when an alert passenger and the crew detected another parcel bomb planted inside a private bus. Although the swift action by the civilians saved many lives, the police teams investigating the incident have so far failed to track the culprits behind the bombing.

It is a well known fact that LTTE cells in south operate in utmost secrecy and to uncover details about their activities is not always easy. However the question to be raised is, do we have the best on the job? As far as we see it the answer is no. Some of the senior police officials in charge of security of Mount Lavinia have a shadowy past. Several previous internal investigations had revealed startling details about these police high rankers; some even had connections with the leaders of several underworld gangs. It is a proven fact that LTTE gets the help of such gangs to smuggle in explosives to Colombo. The situation was entirely different when officers like Nilabdeen were in charge. He had a robust intelligence network that covered the entire city. However the current situation is the complete opposite; with police officers connected to criminal rings in charge of security , we can only have little hope of limiting LTTE activities in Mt. Lavinia.

Meanwhile proceedings of a key road block in Batticaloa area has been threatened by political influence of the brother of a senior parliamentarian. The aforementioned person, who is also one of the leading suppliers of rice in the country, is pressuring the security forces personnel on duty to spare his supply lorries of rigorous checking at the road block. Although LTTE bases in the eastern province have fallen, a large number of cadres from their intelligence wing are still at large disguised as civilians, displaced personnel etc. Due to this reason, Batticaloa check point plays a key role in national security. If the LTTE agents in the eastern province manage to exploit the situation to smuggle in an explosive laden lorry into the south, it will most likely not be the politicians who will pay the price.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

7 more LTTE bodies handed over to ICRC

Bodies of 7 LTTE cadres killed during recent fighting in Weli Oya were handed over to the ICRC today in Anuradhapura hospital. For the last two weeks the army has recovered 27 tiger bodies from the Weli-Oya front alone. At least 7 of the cadres killed were from LTTE's Imran Pandiyan regiment. LTTE is now deploying (although not in large scale) its experienced units along the Weli-Oya front to face the 59th division which is advancing towards Nedunkerni.

Meanwhile in the northern front, the army was able to destroy 5 newly constructed LTTE bunkers along the Muhamalai FDL on the 29th of February. Soldiers backed by artillery and mechanized units launched the limited operation in the early hours of the day. 5 LTTE cadres have been killed in the firefight and 8 bunkers along the rebel defence line have been destroyed.

In other news investigations are continuing into the arrest of Ilankoowan Muthtusami (aka Sami, Ilango). His primary mission seems to have been to reinforce LTTE's arms supply network which suffered multiple setbacks at the hands of the Sri Lanka Navy in the past months. Meanwhile LTTE intelligence (TOSSIE) agents in Colombo were hell bent on trying to identify the person who tipped off Ilankoovan's location to the security forces. According to our information, TOSSIE efforts so far have been fruitless.

Ilankoovan was arrested while he was residing in a lodge in Kadireshan street. The area bordered by Kadireshan street, Hetti Veediya and Yon Veediya is a well known LTTE hotspot. Lodges in this region were once full of LTTE intelligence operatives and LTTE agents who supplied goods from Colombo to Wanni. They were using the power of several Tamil politicians to avoid arrest by the security forces. Sometimes those who helped the LTTE were from the police itself. This situation changed with the resumption of hostilities between the LTTE and SLA. Multiple extensive search operations have been carried out in this area since then by the security forces and the police. Although these countermeasures have contributed towards a reduction of LTTE activities in the area, the level is still higher than most other places in Colombo.