Army advances on Vanni front

Amidst confrontations on the Vanni front, three LTTE cadres have surrendered to the army, two from Jaffna who surrendered on the Welioya front on Thursday and the other at Mallavi area where troops were gradually battling their way towards the road leading from Mankukam to Vellankulam, west of the A 9 road.

Vellankulam is 12 kilometres north of Illuppaikkadavai which fell to the army on July 20th.

Army headquarters said the LTTE cadre who surrendered at Mallavi was from Gampola.

The fighting elements of the 57 Division and the elite Special Forces are now operating close to Mallavi after a series of confrontations on Thursday and Friday caused sizeable damages on the LTTE.

Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka told The Sunday Island that his troops repulsed an LTTE counter attack launched Thursday evening hours after the army captured the area close to Mallavi. "We were prepared to face their foray," he said, asserting the rapid progress on Vavuniya and Mannar fronts would quicken the collapse of the enemy on other fronts.

East of the A9 road, the army (59 Division) is advancing north of Janakapura, Kiriibbanwewa, Andankulama and Kokkuttoduvai while two fighting Divisions including the elite 53 are on the alert in the Jaffna peninsula.

The Task Force I advancing on the Mannar front had reached Illuppaikkadavai on the north-western coast and the Task Force II deployed west of A9 and the right flank of the 57 Division, too, had been making steady progress.

Illuppaikkadavai is 32 kilometres north of Mannar town on the Mannar-Pooneryn (82 kilometers) road.

Fonseka said the attackers had fled leaving bodies of their colleagues including those of some senior cadres when the army beat back the counter attack. "We recovered 33 bodies along with a sizeable stock of arms and ammunition," he said, adding the actual number of dead would be much higher.

At Kalvilan, south-west of Thunukai, also on Friday, troops recovered bodies of four LTTE cadres along with five T 56 assault rifles and two radio sets

The SLAF engaged an LTTE mortar point southwest of Thunnukai Friday evening.

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