Govt. tightens screws on Tigers
Extra troops to East as northern
160 claymore mines and 120 mm
mortar rounds recovered
by Shamindra Ferdinando
The LTTE, struggling to make its presence felt
in the Eastern Province, is being brought under intense pressure
as security forces turn on the heat on the group in the region.
Despite the heavy commitment of troops to the
northern and Vanni fronts as well as the Weli Oya sector, Army
Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka has further strengthened the army
presence in the East. Fonseka has pledged more reinforcements to
the eastern theatre to establish an overwhelming military
A spate of recent detections by the army in the
Thoppigala area uncovered sizeable caches of arms and ammunition
buried by the LTTE as troops advanced on their bases last year.
Cordon and search operations, snap road blocks
and raids conducted ‘on information’ or elicited from suspects
had caused sizeable losses on the enemy. The ground action
against the LTTE in the face of daunting task of maintaining a
minimal level of sea line of communications between the East and
the Vanni (Mullaitivu) due to absolute SLN superiority (between
Illankanthai-Yan Oya) would cause severe difficulties, military
Wednesday’s killing of Shankar at Eravur, widely
believed to a senior deputy to Keerthi of the LTTE Intelligence
Wing highlighted the ongoing battle between security forces and
Police commandos bagged Shankar, two days after
the navy ambushed an LTTE unit operating in the Kuchchaveli
jungles in the neighbouring district. The LTTE lost three cadres
during the brief but fierce Kuchchaveli battle. The remaining
group had fled the area leaving behind dead and four T 56
assault rifles, a small stock of ammunition and dry rations.
The LTTE is unlikely to receive bodies of cadres
killed in action in the East as the ICRC has declined to
transport them across the Omanthai entry/exit point. The ICRC
recently said that it wouldn’t accept the responsibility as the
LTTE had not ‘recognised’ presence in the East.
On Wednesday evening, a joint group of army,
navy and police during a search carried out at Oaluttu,
Trincomalee recovered one T-56 assault rifle, two magazines, 59
rounds of live ammunition and four hand grenades.
At Karuwalpody, Batticaloa on the same day,
police commandos found 83 mortar rounds buried in a jungle.
In the neighbouring Ampara district, police
commandos recovered one claymore mine and two detonators, hidden
in an abandoned area on the same day.
The military said that the LTTE had buried arms,
ammunition and equipment in various parts of the Eastern
Province for use by small groups of infiltrators. But the army
has been successful to a large extent in the province where many
buried stocks had been recovered.
At Meeyangolla, Batticaloa, troops during a
search on Wednesday (9) recovered 85 claymore mines, 41 T 56
assault rifles, five light machine guns, four multi purpose
machine guns, one rocket propelled launcher, one T 81 weapon,
one .22 rifle, 685 rounds of M - 16 ammunition, 20 rounds of
rocket propelled grenades, ten RPG chargers, five Kgs of C – 4
explosives and one MPMG (multi purpose machine gun) links.
At Kalmunai, police recovered one 8kg claymore
mine and a roll of wire with the help of an LTTE cadre who
surrendered early this week. He also revealed the identity of a
covert LTTE operative. This led to his arrest.
At Madagalla, Thoppigala on Monday (7) troops
recovered a neatly packed 120 mm mortar, one 12.7 weapon with
three drums, one 60 mm mortar, one 80 mm mortar bipod, two multi
purpose machine gun tripods, 450 anti personnel mines, eleven
TNT slabs of fifteen kgs each, thirty claymore mines of two kgs
each, two five litre cans of C-4 explosives and 500 electric
detonators buried in the area.
On the previous day, troops during a day-long
operation at Meeyangolla, Thoppigala troops recovered 43
claymore mines (7 claymores of 15 Kg each and 36 claymores of
5-7 kgs each), five kgs of C-4 explosives, 25 meter-long
detonator code, 42 hand grenades, 2000 rounds of T-56 live
ammunition, 175 pen torch batteries and 60 torch batteries.