The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) raided LTTE positions located north of Weli Oya today evening. The latest arial raid comes after the rebels shelled an army camp and surrounding villages in Weli-Oya region. LTTE fired artillery at Sinhapura army camp today morning however the surrounding villages too were hit. No military or civilians casualties have been reported. Meanwhile pro LTTE media claimed that the army had started a major offensive in the Weli-Oya region. According to our information there is no such major push towards Wanni apart from routine limited operations.
Meanwhile the army has informed the Bishop of Mannar, Reverend Rayappu Josheph that they have captured the shrine and the surrounding area and has requested the return of statue of "our lady of Madhu". In reply the Bishop has mentioned that the return of the statue was 'uncertain' until both the army and the LTTE agreed to declare an area of two mile radius from the church as a no-war-zone. Interestingly, the bishop allowed the statue to remain at the shrine (then under LTTE control) long after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) first placed their long range artillery guns inside the no war zone which was initially declared back in 2007. The army, after securing the church, has advanced further north from the Madhu shrine and are now in the process of securing Palampiddi region.
Meanwhile the recent setback at the northern front has triggered some changes in the SLA hierarchy. Former commander of the 53rd division has been appointed defence attache to the Sri Lanka Embassy in the US. The position of GOC(general officer commanding) of the 53rd division will most likely be filled by Brigadier Kamal Gunarathne who is the current commander of the 55th division. Brigadier Prasanna De Silva will be appointed as the GOC of the 55th division. Brig. Silva is a capable army officer who was one of the major forces behind the recent successes of SLA's Special Forces including the Vakarai operation.