Friday, June 16, 2006

SLA attacks inside LTTE area on 1 June

On 1 June a claymore attack, carried out by the Sri Lankan Army, in Vedivaiththakal village in Nedunkerni in Vavuniya district, killed one LTTE auxiliary force member and injured another. Varothayan Sritharan was the person killed in the incident.

On the night of 1 June at 7.30 pm at the Kakayan Forward Defense Lines (FDL) in Vavuniya, SLA carried out a shelling attack killing one member of the LTTE.


Give up east, at what cost? by Dharmeratnam Sivaram

On Thursday the Tigers took four buses which ply between Batticaloa and Valaichenai. The incident occurred near the spot where more than forty soldiers were killed very recently. Troops were tense. Traffic was held up for a long time.

It was apparent that the army was worried that the buses had been taken for the purpose of mounting an attack on its exposed positions in the interior to the southwest or its semi- beleagured camps on the road from Chenkaladi to Valaichenai.
Many usually well informed local people were, however, of the opinion that the vehicles had been taken by the LTTE to transport villagers in areas under their control to meetings which are being held widely to mark the Annai Poopathy week.

On Friday the Tigers attacked the commandos of the elite Special Task Force at Pulukunawa, a remote village in the Ampara district, killing more than sixteen of them. Though there may be little connection between the attack and the hijacking of the buses, it is still difficult to rule out the distinct possibility of the vehicles being used in preparations for a major offensive in the east which in the LTTE's view may thoroughly tilt the military balance in the region in their favour.

The army on the road between Valaichenai and Chenkaladi might for sure heave a sigh of relief only in the event of the buses being recovered or returned in the near future without incident.

There are seven military camps between Valaichenai and Chenkalady - a distance of eight miles. Of these the camps at Kinnaiady and Kalmadu which is near Kalkudah, control vulnerable approaches to the main road from the sea and from the interior.

A camp was established at Kaluwankerni on the coast east of Vantharumoolai to control the increasing activities of the Sea Tigers in the area which had made the army's positions on Chenkaladi - Valaichenai road doubly vulnerable. Despite this the security forces have been taking very heavy casualties on this route. First, the army lost more than sixty five soldiers (according to a local body count) in an encounter at Santhiveli, after which a camp was set up near the place and then at Mavadivempu it took more forty five casulaties - which later increased to about fifty two.

Why is the army so vulnerable in this relatively small area despite having such a large number of camps? The answer to this will throw some light on the general security situation in this part of the island.

The control of the trunk road between Chenkaladi and Valaichenai, which is a vital segment of the Main Supply Route to the district on its north western side, is precarious because immediately to its west and to its north lie vast areas which are held by the LTTE. The area covered by the seven army camps is therefore like a fragile islet in a hostile wilderness.

It takes hours every day for the army to clear short distances on the road before it can allow any traffic, including its own, to pass. This daily routine has become quite dangerous now. It is also sapping the strength of the camps. Though this is a high risk area, the situation which obtains in other sectors of the Batticaloa district is more or less the same.

The military balance in Batticaloa can be tentatively described as follows: The government is trying to ensure its hold on the district despite withdrawing a substantial number of troops to the north, by controlling three of the five strategic access routes to the region.

The three area, the Welikanda - Batticaloa road, the Kalmunai - Batticaloa road and the network of narrow dust roads from the Central Camp - Bakkiella area in the Ampara district to Mandoor and Vellaveli in the Batticaloa district.
The other vital access routes - the road from Maha Oya to Chenkaladi is under the full control of the LTTE beyond the derelict village of Pullumalai. The coastal road from Mutur to Batticaloa is in the hands of the Tigers between Kiliveddi and Kayankerni which is a few kilometers north of Valaichenai.

The three main access routes which are under the control of the security forces are under constant pressure from the Tigers who hold the hinterlands on the edges of which these routes lie.

The Welikanda - Batticaloa road is held by the army and the other two access routes are supervised by the STF. The strength of the army and the STF in their respective areas of operation seems to be adequate only to keep the routes precariously safe enough to ensure civilian and military traffic during daytime. They do not obviously have the ability or power to 'soften' LTTE positions in the hinterlands.

The security forces have engaged in major offensives like Operation Rivikirana and small scale Special Forces operations in the hinterlands to take the pressure of the three access routes. The massacre of twenty-six STF commandos in Vellaveli and the attack at Vantharumoolai show that the major offensives which were aimed at destroying the LTTE's military potential in the interior quite substantially, have had no effect.

Such offensives in the past were meant to keep the Tigers on the run, giving them little time between one major operation and the other to regroup and reestablish vital supply bases and sources.

Despite reports in the press that the recent big operations into the Tiger held hinterlands - the most popular in the military communique being Thoppigala have been quite successful in dispersing the LTTE. The pressure keeps increasing almost daily on the access routes which are under security forces control. Ex-Tamil militants who have undertaken deep penetration operation into the Thoppigala area say that the LTTE maintains vast base complexes there with permanent concrete structures which do not, according to them, seem to have been touched by artillery fire.

The LTTE's military network is so large in this area and supplemented by widely-strewn groups of auxillary forces that it is virtually impossible to score a hit and make a safe withdrawal they say. Although this may be the case in the Thoppigala and Vakarai regions, Special Forces operations have been somewhat more successful in bringing some pressure on the LTTE's mobility in the Paduvankarai hinterland.

This is mainly due to the influence which the Mohan's group still retains there. Special Forces Ops are carried out on a smaller scale by other Tamil groups as well.

In Eelam War Two the Mohan group operating with commandos of the Special Forces regiment were quite successful in bringing the LTTE's activities in Paduvankarai almost to a standstill after it ambushed and killed serveral key Tiger leaders including David.

Special Forces Ops are facilitated greatly in this region by the pervasive intelligence network cultivated and maintained by Mohan and his boys. They have an exceptionally large number of informants, infiltrators and moles who help them pick their targets with extreme precision. They have also been able to place explosive devices in Tiger camps.

But the LTTE seems to have become really alarmed after Mohan ambushed and killed Kalanesan and another Tiger who was travelling with him. Kalanesan was at that time believed to be the chief of LTTE's civilian intelligence organisation. It was discovered later, according to Mohan's associates, that the person who was killed along with Kalanesan, was Tharma, supposed to be the most senior operative in the LTTE's intelligence wing in the district.

Such S.F. operations being the most effective way of hitting at the LTTE now, Mohan has become indispensable to the government which at one time cried foul, at the work of his 'handlers' in the military intelligence like 'Captain Munaz'.
It has to therefore turn a blind eye to some of his non-military activities which in the past drew flak from human rights groups. However, the withdrawal of the larger portion of the Special Forces regiments to the north for the purpose of carrying on a counter insurgency campaign against the LTTE in the Valikamam sector and the closure almost all the camps in the interior, have now placed severe limitations on the operations of the Mohan group.

This has been further compounded by the manner in which the LTTE has devised its counter strategy.
Firstly, the Tigers withdrew all their important leaders to bases in the deep jungles about which Mohan and the military intelligence seem to have very scanty information. This happened soon after the killing of Tharma and Kalanesan. It was widely reported at that time that Karikalan, who was the most prominent of those who were 'withdrawn' thus, had been recalled to Jaffna by the Tiger leadership which was not happy with his statements to the press.

Karikalan in fact never went to Jaffna but remained in one of the remote base complexes, appearing regularly to meet the public at the LTTE office in Vakarai. No one it should be pointed out here, is able to carry out Special Forces operations in the vast Vakarai region.

There are few or no ex-Tamil militants or LTTE surrendees who know the area or who can cultivate a stable network of informants and infiltrators. This makes the Vakarai region virtually free of the deep penetration operations which seem to be a greater headache to the LTTE than large scale offensives.

Secondly, the LTTE has taken to road and area clearing operations before they permit their leaders to move into places considered vulnerable to S.F. ambush and attack. The public have to sometimes wait till eleven thirty in the morning at the LTTE office in Arasadythivu near Kokkaddicholai to meet officials.

One rarely comes across key Tiger leaders in the Paduvankarai region now. But one can see many ordinary cadres going about on motorbykes - some of which were captured from the army in Koduvamadu near Chenkaladi.
The LTTE has also made matters worse for Special Forces Ops by deploying auxiliary forces drawn from the large population of dispossessed paddy and chena cultivators in the hinterlands who were driven out of their lands during Eelam War Two by the army which believed that the prevention of cultivation could deprive the Tigers of essential food supplies - a method which appears to have worked in South America and Malasiya.

The presence of these militias which are armed with the FLN self-loading rifles now considered redundant by the LTTE, according to Mohan's boys, has made safe withdrawals after attacks in the interior virtually impossible in certain regions. They also say that LTTE surrendees are of little use these days because they (surrendees) do not know much about the key camps in the interior.

Therefore, with the major offensives not producing the desired effect in the hinterlands and with the S.F. operations losing their former impact, the task of taking the steadily increasing pressure on the three access routes to the Batticaloa district, off has become impossible. On the other hand the LTTE has made the following gains:

a) undisputed control of all the strategic hinterlands of the district plus the southern extreme of the Trincomalee district which is contiguous with Vakarai.
b) the ability to destabilise the three main supply routes at will, an ability which may eventually become power to interdict all military movement on them if the government were to concentrate in the north for a sufficiently long period.
c) the control of a large stretch of coast south of Ilankaithurai Muhathuvaram in Trincomalee district to north of the Kalkudah bay.
d) Recruitment. The Tigers have opened three recruitment centres (called Puthiya Poralihal Inaiyum Seyalaham in Tamil) in the Kokkaddicholay, Arasadithivu and Paddipalai. In recent months 47 boys and girls have joined the organisation from the village of Kokkaddicholai alone. A steady flow of recruits is reported from almost all the villages in the hinterlands.

This briefly is the fate of all the vast investments that the military made in pacifying the east between 1990 and 1994. Can the new investment made in the Jaffna peninsula yield dividends which can offset the abandonment of the vast investment of military resources in the east?

Two Tigers stalwarts killed in an uncleared area

A Claymore bomb attack at Iluppadichenai which is an uncleared area 8km from Batticaloa on a jeep in which Wanni Tigers were traveling had two Tigers stalwarts killed. They are said to have come from Wanni on the direction from Bhanu. The jeep has been completely destroyed and five Tiger terrorists who were traveling in it are said to have been killed.

Karuna Faction has carried out this attack about 10:45 last night.


Army denies false propaganda by Tiger terrorists

The pro-Tiger Tamilnet website on 14.06.06 carried a highly dubious news story titled “Claymore attack averted in Vanni, 3 dead in gunfire”.

The report alleges that “Tamil Auxiliaries” on a road clearing patrol recovered a body of a person who they claim to be a soldier of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA). They say the soldier was killed during an exchange of fire between Nainamadu and Puliyankulam on the Nedunkerni road on Tuesday (13 June).

It also reports “The Auxiliaries seized boots and ammunitions” allegedly used by the Deep Penetration Unit of the Sri Lanka Army.

Also found by the Auxiliaries was one bag with ‘SLA’ markings.

The news report carried two photographs of the equipment and of the body.

It is an open secret that the Tigers are in possession of equipment and other military hardware including communication equipment captured from SLA during past operations against Security Forces.

Apparently the Tigers have used a few of these very same items for their advantage to justify their claim.

This is one of the innumerable instances the Tigers have attempted to tarnish the image of the Sri Lanka Security Forces in the eyes of the international community.

On June 12th an Officer was reported missing from the Forward Defence Line (FDL) Omanthai. On June 05th another Officer was reported missing from Vavuniya.

The possibility of the body to be that of one of the missing cannot be ruled out. The Tigers have a long history of resorting to the abduction of both military and civilians.

The above incident reported on 14.06.06 by the pro-Tiger media could be linked to another instance of their fabrication and false propaganda drive.


DPU agent killed, one captured, two trapped in Batticaloa

Two Sri Lankan Deep Penetration Unit attackers, who fled Illuppadichenai, a Liberation Tigers controlled territory 17 km west off Batticaloa, were chased by the Tigers, after a Claymore attack Thursday 9:30 p.m. The DPU personnel went hiding into the Pankudaveli jungle close to the Batticaloa lagoon. Later, Sri Lanka Army dispatched a DPU rescue team of two, from Eravur towards the Pankudaveli jungle across the Batticaloa lagoon, in boats. LTTE cadres gunned down one of the two rescue DPU team members and the other was captured alive by the Tigers around 2:20 a.m. Friday, Batticaloa District Political Head Daya Mohan said.

The two DPU attackers were still hiding in the jungle area. A cordon and search operation by the Tiger cadres was going on, Mr. Daya Mohan said.

The rescue team of the DPU, was attacked as they crossed the Batticaloa lagoon.

The Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), known as the Deep Penetration Unit (DPU), was given instructions to attack civilian targets, the captive has told the Tigers, according to Mr. Daya Mohan.

The DPU attacker in LTTE custody, has also revealed that their team was behind the Claymore attack, last week, in Pattipalai and another attack, at Thandiyadi Maveerar cemetary in Batticaloa.

The DPU rescue team had gone to the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) office in Batticaloa earlier on Thursday and robbed the office, according to the captured LRRP attacker.

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission officials would be contacted Friday morning with the details from the captured Deep Penetrating Unit member, Daya Mohan further said.


Another penetrating SLA soldier gunned down, Claymore attack averted

Liberation Tigers cadres gunned down a Deep Penetration Unit soldier of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Thursday morning in LTTE controlled Puliyankulam Nedunkerni Road between Mathiyamadu and Nainamadu, LTTE officials told media. The dead body of a SLA soldier who was wearing LTTE uniform was handed over to the ICRC officials at the request of Vanni command of the Sri Lankan forces, the Tigers further said.

Vavuniya district Political Head of the LTTE, Gnanam, handed over the dead body of the Sri Lankan DPU trooper to the ICRC officials. SLMM officials were also present at the Vavuniya district political secretariat of the LTTE in Puliyankulam where the body was handed over to the ICRC, sources added.

Meanwhile, a pickup vehicle narrowly escaped from a Claymore attack Thursday morning in Puliankulam area, Tamileelam Police sources in Kilinochhci said.


SLA soldier from DPU gunned down, Claymore attack averted

Liberation Tigers cadres shot dead a Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) soldier of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Thursday morning in LTTE controlled Puliyankulam Nedunkerni Road between Mathiyamadu and Nainamadu, LTTE officials told media. The dead body of a SLA soldier who was wearing LTTE uniform was handed over to the ICRC officials at the request of Vanni command of the Sri Lankan forces, the Tigers further said.

Vavuniya district Political Head of the LTTE, Gnanam, handed over the dead body of the Sri Lankan DPU trooper to the ICRC officials. SLMM officials were also present at the Vavuniya district political secretariat of the LTTE in Puliyankulam where the body was handed over to the ICRC, sources added.

Meanwhile, a pickup vehicle narrowly escaped from a Claymore attack Thursday morning in Puliankulam area, Tamileelam Police sources in Kilinochchi said.




Second SLA soldier killed in LTTE area while trying to lay claymore mine

For the second time in three days, on 15 June, a gun battle ensued between the LTTE and an Sri Lankan Army Deep Penetration Unit that was attempting to lay claymore in LTTE area between Mathiyamadi and Nayinamadu on the Puliyankulam-Nedunkerni road in Vavuniya district.

One SLA soldier was killed. His body is presently in Kilinochchi in preparation for handing over to the SLA tomorrow.

The dead soldier was wearing striped LTTE uniform like the other SLA soldier killed two days ago in LTTE area of Vavuniya district.

In the meantime a claymore attack by the SLA DPU in Kanagarayankulam in Vavuniya did not cause any damage. Several items left behind by the SLA team were found near the site.