The Army’s 58 Division yesterday afternoon overran Ampalavanpokkaini on the western banks of the Challai lagoon, 8 km north of Puthukuduiyirippu junction reducing the area occupied by the LTTE had been reduced to less than 85 sq km.
The Army said that the troops of 10 Sri Lanka Light Infantry and 6 Gemunu Watch had demolished the Tiger defences and captured the LTTE strongholds.
Troops have recovered seven bodies of Tiger cadres along with five T-56 assault rifles.
The LTTE had kept up artillery fire from the no fire zone as the troops moved towards the northern borders zeroing in on Puthukuduiyirippu town, the sources said. Troops are now 500 to 600 metres away from the Puthukuduiyirippu township, Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said.
The transport of civilians from the Tiger controlled area to safety via the sea continues. Another shipload was due to leave Mullaitivu for Trincomalee last evening.
They are being transported by the vessel ‘Green Ocean’ by the Navy with the assistance of the ICRC.
Navy spokesman Captain D. K. P. Dassanayake said that it was the fourth time that civilians trapped in the LTTE controlled areas had been transported to Trincomalee by the Navy.
So far, over 1,200 displaced people have been transported to safety on board ‘Green Ocean’.
At least another 400 civilians would be transported on the fourth voyage undertaken by the vessel he said.
A total of 35,706 IDPs have crossed to the government controlled area from the war zone this year. A total of 3,848 people crossed in January while the number rapidly increased by 31,908 in February.
The Military said the patients who were undergoing treatment in the hospitals in war torn areas had been moved to hospitals in the government controlled areas and 1,117 such people had been evacuated by the troops and sent to hospitals in government controlled areas.