Friday, February 09, 2007
This is what a 1000kg bomb droped could do a terrorist camp.
Has ‘Colonel’ Swarnam been killed or critically injured due to air force bombing ?
The security forces have taken the LTTE-held Vakarai region, wreaking heavy damages to the Tigers, the LTTE seniors appear to be in total disarray with the majority either fleeing the area or refusing to fight the military and waiting in their camps. The Wanni leadership had given orders to a few commanding level Tiger leaders to wait in the region and as a result a handful of seniors still remain in the area.
The latest reports indicate that LTTE’s military leader for Trincomalee ‘Colonel’ Swarnam is either dead or critically injured due to Air Force bombing.
While there is no official confirmation as to what exactly his plight could be, ground sources had confirmed that he was critically injured due to the bombing. The bombardment was carried out by the Air Force early this week following intelligence reports that a large number of LTTE cadres were preparing to launch an attack on the military in the Ichchalampattu area.
Hundreds of LTTE members in Batticaloa and Ampara districts had gathered in Verugal and the precision of the air attacks saw heavy casualties and damages to the LTTE.
Ground troops confirmed that the aerial bombing in the strategic Verugal area – ten miles North - West of Vakarai, from where a big terrorist build-up was reported, had among others killed the personal bodyguard of Swarnam. The same sources claimed that soon after the bombing, all radio communication by Swarnam too had stopped after the attack.
Ever since the fighting broke out in the region a few months ago, the LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had ordered Swarnam to lead the military operation against the government security forces.
Exactly a month ago, Wanni Leadership directed the ‘Jeyanthan brigade’ which is tasked with the duty of protecting Vakarai from security forces to recapture what the LTTE has lost to the Army during the past few months.
The brigade had set off from the ‘Sembimale’ camp in Mullaitivu and moved to Vakarai area through Verugal as fishermen.
It is said that they were fully equipped to launch a major attack on the forces under the supervision of Swarnam, who is a close confidante of Prabhakaran.
Around 300-400 cadres have been thus camped in the area and had been collecting information from Kathirweli, Verugal and Vakarai. After the fall of Sampoor, the LTTE leadership was trying his best to get his cadres to hold onto Vakarai since the fall of Vakarai is likely to mark the last days of the LTTE in the Eastern province.
Ever since the fighting broke out in the eastern region, starting from Mawil Aru,the eastern leadership had been sending messages regularly to Wanni asking for assistance in the face of massive ground and air attacks from the government security forces.
It is now confirmed that in order to stop the government’s troops advancing, Swarnam had ordered his cadres to launch artillery attacks towards Sinhala settlements in Somapura and its neighbouring areas. The troops were forced to suspend some of their small operations as a result.
However the reason for the suspension of the main movements towards Vakarai area is something else. That is to ensure the security of some 40,000 still trapped in the LTTE held Vakarai area.
If Swarnam had been killed or even seriously injured, it would be a major setback for the LTTE, not only in the east, but also in the north as well.
Swarnam had led several successful operations against both the government security forces as well as the breakaway Karuna group.
Swarnam, who had led the LTTE’s elite force-Jeyanthan-brigade many a times, was the one who was assigned to kill LTTE’s former Eastern Commander Karuna after his defection.
After a major fight with the Karuna faction in Mavadichenai, north of Verugal, the Northern Tiger platoon led by Swarnam was able to chase the Karuna faction out of the area two years ago and take control of the entire stretch from Sampur to Mankerni.
However, there is no proper command for LTTE in Vakarai area since most of the seniors had left for Vavuniya and Kilinochchi. The LTTE Trincomalee district political leader Elilan and Batticaloa-Ampara Special Commander Banu were among the LTTE leaders who went to the north a few weeks ago after the outbreak of fighting in Vakarai.
Government’s military operations By Thursday evening, government forces were stationed in the strategically important Panichchankerni Bridge of the south of Vakarai, while in the north, troops were consolidating captured areas near the Verugal River.
A few months ago, the government forces launched an attack to capture the LTTE-held Vakarai. Since then LTTE power in the region was dwindling fast.
Right now troops are in full control of Panichchankerni and the nieghbouring areas.
From the north of Verugal, the government forces started advancing towards the south despite heavy resistance from the LTTE.
By yesterday noon military personnel were busy blocking the LTTE movements from all directions. A team from Mahindapura was proceeding towards Verugal area while troops from Threekonamadu were also advancing towards the Tiger held areas in Vakarai.
In Panichchankerni, the troops had reached the bridge.
Tigers had tried to blow up the bridge in order to block the troop movements towards Vakarai. But the military said the LTTE could only make two big holes in the bridge blocking vehicular movements.
Meanwhile another development is that the Karuna group had started hunting down for LTTE cadres fleeing Vakarai to Thoppigala jungle.
The Special Forces who led the operation, yesterday afternoon captured the south of Vakarai.