Troops from the army’s 59 division today captured the formerly LTTE held fishing village of Kumunamalai. Small attack teams of the army have been operating in this area for about 4 days but it was only today the army moved in to take complete control of the village. The tigers resisted the army advance for 7-8 hours before they retreated further north into LTTE held territory. 3 LTTE bodies were recovered while a vehicle belonged to the tigers was destroyed in an ambush.
Meanwhile Task Force 3 have made significant gains in the Mankulam region. TF3 units have been advancing towards Mankulam since yesterday dawn and by 17th (today) noon have advanced up to the Mankulam junction which connects A9 and A34 roads.
Meanwhile it seems that the recent fall of Pooneryn has severely affected the morale of LTTE fighters. SLA units intercepting radio transmissions could hear groups of LTTE cadres blaming each other for not being able to save their former stronghold from the advancing army. SLA advance on the town was so swift that several groups of LTTE fighters deserted their ranks as Pooneryn fell. SLA’s morale on the other hand now seem to be at an all time high. Over 2500 army deserters have rejoined the ranks in the two days since the fall of Pooneryn.
The LTTE however had previously moved their heavy guns towards Kilinochchi and Elephant pass before the army reached Pooneryn. Army’s 53 and 55 divisions have started limited operations on LTTE’s frontlines at Muhamalai to advanced further south to choke the tigers even more. 58 division on the other hand is now in complete control of Pooneryn, Nallur and are poised to advance towards Paranthan. And 11kms south east of their current position lies Kilinochchi, another major stronghold of the tigers which is already being besieged by the 57 division. It must be said that recent military gains did not come easy. There have been casualties for the army in both Muhamalai and Pooneryn. Casualty evacuation is not easy and most of the time injured soldiers need to be transported by tractors before they are airlifted.
Meanwhile the Air Force has been playing an active role in the army offensives in the past week. Their bombers and MI-24 gunships have been frequently raiding LTTE armories, gathering points and military bases in Muhamalai, Pallai, Pooneryn and Paranthan.