The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) formations deployed in the Mannar district captured the Madhu Church today evening. The holy shrine and the surrounding area are now under the complete control of the army. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters who had camped inside the no-war-zone departed the area in face of the army advance. It was initially feared that the tigers would blow the church before the army captured it. According to our sources the church has not been seriously damaged in the countless artillery duels which took place in the past several months.
Search operations are still continuing. These will continue till the army verifies the area is free of booby traps and IEDs placed by the fleeing tigers. The operations in these areas are being spearheaded by the 57-2 brigade of the army's 57 division.
Image: Sacred shrine of Our Lady of Madhu (File Photo)
Latest milestone in the ongoing Wanni operation comes only a day after the Sri Lanka Army suffered a setback in the northern front. Pro LTTE media elated by LTTE's success yesterday, published news stories which claimed that tigers inflicted heavy casualties on SLA in the Mannar front. These stories are false. Although it is true that the army suffered heavy casualties in the northern front, the situation on Mannar, Vavuniya and Weli Oya remain the same. 57, 58 and 59 division which are leading the offensives into Wanni have the tigers under pressure.
With the capture of Madhu, army is now focusing on Palampiddi where the rebels maintain a base which is sometimes used as an artillery launchpad.
Meanwhile fresh intelligence information from the north indicated that the actual number of LTTE deaths in yesterday's battle is around 80. A further 200 are said to be injured.