...any military aggression on their part would entail military costs to them –Foreign Minister
Forces seize Tigers’ Jaffna frontline
by Shamindra Ferdinando

Against the backdrop of the Sampur success, the Government over the weekend smashed the LTTE fortifications across the Kilaly-Muhamalai line in the Jaffna theatre.

President Mahinda Rajapakse authorised, what a senior military official termed as, a limited assault to neutralize enemy strong points across Army frontlines. The operation got underway around 4.30 a.m. after amidst heavy artillery strikes on enemy positions.

Troops brought Sampur under their control on August 4. Saturday’s battle cost the Tigers their fortifications along the Kilali-Muhamalai frontline. The defenders withdrew to their second-line of fortifications after heavy attacks inflicted sizeable damages on them. LTTE political wing leader S. P. Thamilchelvan on September 7 demanded the Army to quit Sampur. He told Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar that they would not return to the negotiating table unless the Army leave the area.

Military spokesman Brigadier Samarasinghe yesterday said that troops were in the process of consolidating their positions in the Kilaly-Muhamalai area. "We neutralized their first-line of defence in the Kilali-Muhamalai area," he said. At some points the enemy front-line was just 100 meters away from ours, he said, adding that troops pushed over 500 meters in some areas.

Artillery strikes facilitated the ground offensive, he said. Army Headquarters said that 28 soldiers died in action and about 120 wounded. The army is in the process of reinforcing positions along the newly captured terrain, another officer said.

He expressed the belief that Saturday’s gains would definitely ease enemy pressure on army positions along Eluththumaduwal and Nagakarkovil frontline.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera Friday emphasised the government’s commitment to the Oslo-led peace process while underscoring the need to tackle the security threat posed by the LTTE. Addressing the Colombo based diplomatic corps, Samaraweera said, "I must note here that while, the government would like to show the LTTE that any military aggression on their part would, entail military costs to them, the government remains committed to the ceasefire agreement and is vigorously continuing with the constitutional reforms process. He reiterated President Rajapakse’s stance that he would consider any proposal for a comprehensive and verifiable cessation of hostilities that could bring and end to violence.


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