Wednesday, January 28, 2009

58 division reaches Vishwamadu junction

LTTE’s defences on several fronts as collapsing. On one front the 59 division is extended their defences north of Mullathivu till Vaduvakal, a small village.On another front, 55 division units moving south of Chundikulam have breached LTTE defence line at Challai. Delivering yet another blow for LTTE, troops of the 58 division took control of Vishwamadu junction several hours ago. Two senior LTTE leaders identified as ‘Kobe Master’ and ‘Shanthan Kumar’ are believed to be killed in Vishwamadu fighting. Sporadic clashes are still continuing in this area.

Meanwhile the ‘Liberation’ tigers have fled further towards the recently declared no war zone.

55 division units move into Challai

Troops from the Sri Lanka Army’s 55 division moved into Challai yesterday (27th) evening. Challai LTTE defences (located south of Chundikulam) were breached in several places in the advance. SLA have not officially declared this area captured yet as search operations are still continuing. The large number of land mines and booby traps placed by the tigers have considerably slowed down clearing ops. Capture of Challai is significant to the army as it’s home to one of the last remaining naval bases of the LTTE. 55 division is commanded by Brigadier Prasanna Silva, a former Special Forces commander who chased LTTE out of Vakarai back in 2007.

Military intelligence (MI) earlier received information that LTTE had hidden its light aircraft in Challai region. So far however, no traces of such aircraft have been found.

Meanwhile a large group of civilians fleeing into government controlled territory were attacked by LTTE yesterday morning. MI estimates the number of deaths to exceed 20 in this incident alone.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Troops capture Mullaithivu

The Sri Lanka army (SLA) now has complete control of the Mullathivu township which had been under LTTE control for the last 12 years. SLA’s massive base complex in Mullathivu fell in July, 1996 when LTTE launched their first Unceasing Waves operation. The first SLA units to enter Mullathivu town last morning were from the 59 division. A number of LTTE cadres were killed in operations in and around Mullathivu town and bodies of 19 fallen tigers have been recovered by the army. 59 division started its operations back in 2007 from Weli Oya sector and have been continuously moving north into LTTE held territory in Mullathivu district.

Meanwhile a a lot of false information regarding the Kalamadukulam tank bund explosion are being spread by pro LTTE media. According to some of these sites, over 3000 SLA units were killed and another 5000 were taken prisoner by the LTTE. DefenceNet can only laugh at these claims. When the LTTE blew up the tank bund using explosives, water began to flood sections of the A-35 road, Ramanadanpuram, Dharmapuran and Vishwamadu (which is currently under LTTE control). 6 SLA squads from 57 and 58 division were caught in the flood water and had to battle their way out as LTTE cadres on board 5 boats kept attacking them. 3 of these boats were destroyed while two others escaped. Although the situation was not as severe as the SLA initially expected it to be, several units from the 53 division were deployed in the affected area as a precautionary measure. 53 division is kept as a reserve force to be used in the event of an LTTE counterattack. Even though the floods failed to inflict any considerable damage to SLA, it did however cut off several land routes which the civilians could have used to get into the ‘safe zone’ (also known as ‘LTTE artillery launchpad’). 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No fighter jets missing

Yesterday, pro LTTE media reported of a SLAF fighter jet which allegedly went missing in the ‘northern frontier’. According to Pro LTTE Tamilnet, a Mig fighter jet with three airmen inside was shot in the skies over Wanni. Part of the initial report is quoted below:

A Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) MIG fighter jet was shot in the skies over Vanni on Wednesday, according to initial reports from journalists outside Sri Lanka, who cited a highly placed source in Vanni Sri Lankan Forces Headquarters (Vanni SF-HQ). The Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) officials were not available to comment on the reports.
There were 3 airmen inside the aircraft, according to the reports from the Sri Lankan side.

DefenceNet can confirm that this story is completely false. There were no fighter jets missing and MIG27 ‘Flogger’ variant bombers the SLAF possesses are not designed to fly with three airmen inside. Tamilnet, after realizing their mistake have now updated the article:

The exact model type of the MIG fighter jet was not revealed and the information on the number of airmen reported missing as three was also confusing, the journalist said.

Apart from fabricated stories such as this one, pro LTTE media carry stories of civilians injured by SLA artillery fire/airstrikes on a daily basis. Aside from the exaggeration in these reports, they fail to mention how the LTTE has placed its heavy mortars in close proximity of civilian settlements and how civilians fleeing to government controlled territory are shot on sight. Civilians are not the target of Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) or the artillery regiment. Had it not been for the human shield deployed by the LTTE, forces would have advanced even closer to last remaining tiger strongholds by now.

Meanwhile the SLAF today dropped leaflets over Mullathivu, informing civilians of the newly declared safety zone. It is doubtful whether the LTTE will allow free movement of civilians to this area.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

4 LTTE boats sunk, SLN FAC damaged in sea battle

Four LTTE sea tiger craft including an explosive laden suicide boat were destroyed in a sea battle that ensued east of Mullaithivu coastline. A SLN Fast Attack Craft (FAC) also sustained heavy damages in the incident. The exact number of LTTE cadres killed is not known as of yet. SLN units have recovered two LTTE bodies from the area after the battle.

It is believed that the LTTE flotilla was targeting one of the larger SLN vessels deployed in the Mullathivu seas. Luckily the boat movement was detected by FACs patrolling closer to the shore and SLN engaged the sea tigers before they could mount a surprise attack. A suicide boat tried to ram into one of the FACs but it was destroyed before it could reach its target. However, the suicide boat exploded in close proximity of the FAC and it sustained damages due to the blast.

Meanwhile troops laying siege to Mullaithivu recovered 9 more LTTE bodies yesterday (20th). More than 100 LTTE bodies have been sent to Vavuniya and Anuradhapura hospitals in the past two weeks alone. Around 75 of these have already been buried since handing them over to the LTTE via ICRC was is longer possible.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Troops capture LTTE runway in Iranamadu

The LTTE’s largest airstrip located near the Iranamadu tank, was captured today (15th) morning by Sri Lanka Army’s Task Force 3. The airstrip which was 1km long and 50m wide is now under complete SLA control. The premises was protected by fortified bunkers, landmines and booby traps. Buildings around the airstrip have been severely damaged by fleeing LTTE cadres. No traces of LTTE’s light aircraft were found. The Iranamadu airstrip has been subject to frequent aerial raids by the Sri Lanka Air Force. As per UAV footage , SLAF’s was successful in damaging the runway several times in the past. With the airstrip’s capture today, troops observed that the LTTE had managed to repair most of the damage caused by SLAF bombings.

Meanwhile with the capture of Chundikulam, the entire Jaffna peninsula is now under SLA control. LTTE’s last major base in Jaffa district was overrun yesterday by the 55 division. 55 division units have captured several heavy vehicles and over 100 small sea tiger craft during this advance.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two more task forces for Mullathivu battle

The Sri Lanka Army plans to raise two more task forces to aid in Mullaithivu battle. Task Force 5 and Task Force 6 will be deployed in addition to 53, 55, 57, 58, 59 , TF2, TF3 and TF4 already deployed in the Wanni theater of battle. Meanwhile Task Force 1 has now officially been raised as the 58 division in recognition for its invaluable contribution in the Kilinochchi, Paranthan battles. More than 50000 soldiers from 10 divisions/Task Forces are expected to join the assault on Mullathivu, the last major stronghold of the LTTE. Some of the formations will be tasked with holding onto captured territory while fully offensive divisions will lead the advance. The army does not want to spread too thin and run into a possible Jayasikuru type scenario again.

Meanwhile 48 bodies of LTTE cadres who were killed in battles in Mullathivu and Kilinochchi are still in Vavuniya hospital. The recent army advances on multiple fronts seems to have severely affected the LTTE’s organizational structure. No LTTE officials were to be seen since the removal of LTTE checkpoints in Omanthai and Oddusudan about two weeks ago.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Elephant Pass, A-9 Highway now under SLA control

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) now has the full control of A-9 (Jaffna-Kandy) highway for the first time in several years. The entire Elephantpass area including the former tiger stronghold of Pallei too is now under SLA control. The former EPS base complex which was manned by the 54 division and overrun by the tigers in 2000, too has been recaptured. An official announcement on the capture is yet to be made. Most of LTTE’s 1000-1500 strong force deployed in this area have fled towards their final remaining stronghold in Mullaithivu. The rest has been killed by the army.

There was however one incident reported yesterday in Pallei. Lt. Colonel N.Kumarasinghle of the SLA who was attached to the Air Mobile Brigade, was killed due to an IED explosion during a search and clearing mission.

DNT_SLA_PALLEI  Image: Mechanized infantry and ground troops at Pallei, Source: MOD.

LTTE fiercely defended the Muhamalai, Nagarkovil and Kilali axis on several previous occasions which resulted in many casualties for the army. However the SLA, with all the disadvantages on their side, were able to capture two of the tiger’s forward defence lines in these battles. With the 58 division’s capture of Paranthan and their entry into southern EPS, the LTTE fighters along the national front found themselves facing the wrath of 3 divisions advancing from three different directions. This is when LTTE’s final defences in the Muhamalai/Nagarkovil/Kilai axis collapsed and their fighters fled to Mullaithivu.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

LTTE loses 2nd FDL in Muhamalai as 58 division enters Elephant Pass south

Units from the Sri Lanka Army (SLA)’s 53 and 55 divisions have now brought under their control the second LTTE defense line in the Muhamalai/Nagarkovil axis. Tigers had no option but to vacate the FDL when special infantry units from two divisions advanced on them. Exact casualty details are not available as of now. 53 division is commanded by Brigadier Kamal Gunarathne while the 55 division is commanded by Brigadier Prasanna Silva, a former Special Forces commander.

Meanwhile the army’s 58 division (Task Force 1), have entered LTTE dominated territory in Elephant Pass (Alimankada) south. They have also captured two villages located south and east of the Jaffna lagoon. This progress of the 58 division further increases the pressure on remaining tiger presence in the Muhamalai/Nagarkovil and Kilali axis. 58 division is comprised of 11000-12000 troops in four brigades 58-1, 58-2, 58-3 and 58-4.

Map picture

Meanwhile SLA was also able to make progress in several fronts in Mullathivu district in the past 24 hours. A large portion of A-34 road to east of Mankulam have been captured by Task Force 3 and Task Force 4. LTTE dominated villages of Oddusudan and Thanniuththu are also under the control of these two divisions. Fighting was also reported in Preiya Uppukalamkaimkulamm and Keppal Aru south in Mullaithivu. 15 bodies of slain LTTE cadres have been recovered by the troops. LTTE has been continuous firing artillery from their bases in Mullaithivu targeting SLA positions in Kilinochchi as well as targeting advancing forces in 59 division.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Oddusudan junction now under SLA control

The Sri Lank Army units operating north of Nedunkerni, Mullaithivu, have brought the Oddusudan junction under their control. Oddusudan junction is located along the A-34 main road which connects Mankulam and the tiger stronghold of Mullaithivu. Units from SLA’s newly formed Task Force 4 were the first to march into the formerly LTTE held township by today noon. Ground forces were supported by SLAF jets which raided LTTE positions north east of the town.

Meanwhile with the recent fall of Kilinochchi, tigers are now left with the control of only one major town in the North; Mullaithivu. The battle for Mullaithivu will not be an easy one and the army is not taking it lightly. SLA plans to deploy around 50000 ground troops from at least 6 different divisions (majority already deployed) for operations in the Mullathivu district alone.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Explosion in Colombo Fort

An explosion has been reported in Bangasala street (Bangasala Weediya) in Colombo Fort area. At least two people have been injured. Several vehicles have been damaged.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Kilinochchi now under SLA control

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has now taken full control of Kilinochchi, the de facto capital of the LTTE. Troops who entered the town from three different directions and have now converged near the town center. 57 division from the advancing from the direction of Iranamadu Junction, 58 division  advancing from the direction of Paranthan as well as commando units from the 2 commando regiment have now moved into the Kilinochchi town.

As of this moment, the entire township including the railway station, telecom office, main sports ground and the Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalaya are under SLA control. SLAF jets and helicopter gunships have been continuously targeting groups of LTTE fighters fleeing towards Mullaithivu since the fall of Kilinochchi. Operations in search of pockets of LTTE resistance lingering in the area are continuing.

Meanwhile several Pro LTTE media have admitted the loss of Kilinochchi- LTTE’s official mouthpiece claimed “The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has entered a virtual ghost town as the whole civilian infrastructure as well as the centre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) had shifted further northeast.”. The LTTE leader however vowed not to let the town fall and promised to make it a mass grave for the army in his annual speech conducted only about a month ago.

Meanwhile jubilant crowds from various parts of Sri Lanka could be observed lighting firecrackers and waving national flags in celebration of security force’s latest victory.

Kilinochchi surrounded, Female Black Tiger HQ Falls

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) political capital is about to fall to advancing forces of the Sri Lankan Army. Several Special Infantry (SI) formations of SLA’s 57-1 brigade have already moved into the town and secured several parts of it including the railway station.  Majority of LTTE resistance in the area has either been crushed by the army or has been forced to retreat. Official announcement of the fall of tiger stronghold is expected anytime now.

Meanwhile even the LTTE’s primary weapon, the black tigers (aka suicide bombers), were not able to stop the army onslaught in this instance. LTTE’s Female black tiger command (9-3 base) located in Karadiyapokku (located on the northern boundaries of Kilinochchi town) was overrun by 58 division units several hours ago. A senior black tiger leader was among those killed in the battle.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sri Lanka Army captures Paranthan

After days of fierce fighting, the Sri Lanka Army infantry units have moved into Paranthan. Remaining LTTE resistance in the area was crushed in a pre dawn offensive spearheaded by commando units of the 2 commando regiment and special infantry (SI) formations of the 58 division. As of this moment, the entire Paranthan junction and the nearby area is under the complete control of the army.

Paranthan is perhaps the most strategically important area captured by the army during recent times. LTTE’s land based supply routes from their stronghold in Mullaithiv to Elephant pass, Kilali, Nagarkovil and Muhamalai  have now been effectively cut off. This also opens another front for the army to advance on Kilinochchi – Paranthan is located around 4km north of the besiged town.

Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Air Force has been flying several aerial sorties per day to aid the advancing ground forces. Last evening, before SLA’s final push for Paranthan was made, SLAF jets and gunships devastated LTTE positions south and east of Paranthan junction in 4 different bombing raids. Last week however, an SLAF Mi-24 helicopter gunship suffered damage due to .50 caliber gunfire (aka five-zero) while providing close air support for advancing SLA troops in Mulliaweli, Mullaithiv. The gunship continued to destroy LTTE bunkers amidst cheers from SLA units on the ground. It completely destroyed part of the LTTE defence line before the pilot had to return to base due to damages caused to the rotor and hull. Although the gunship was hit by close to twenty 0.50 cal rounds, it’s in repairable condition.