Army now 150,000 strong recruits more,
readies for big battles on the Vanni front

The army is being further strengthened with more men as the combined security forces campaign on the Vanni fronts enters a decisive stage with ground troops making significant progress.

Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka on Saturday visited the area for a first hand assessment as troops on the Mannar front increased pressure on Adampan, an LTTE stronghold situated close to Yoda Wewa.

As the army advanced on LTTE positions, the LTTE, in a desperate bid to trigger a clash near Madhu church Saturday late afternoon fired 81 mm mortars at troops deployed south of the church. The army said that troops had not targeted LTTE firing position near the Madhu church. "Had we responded to the enemy threat, the LTTE and the media sympathetic to them would have caused a major uproar," the army said.

According to Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, the army had recruited about 3,000 since the beginning of this year. In an interview with Derana TV Saturday afternoon, the Brigadier while placing the number of recruits last year at 34,000 said that the army was 150,000 strong. He placed the combined strength of the three services over 200,000.(SF)



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