SLA shells village west of Mankulam
[TamilNet, Monday, 09 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
455 families fled from the village of Vannivilankulam, as the Sri Lankan Army launched a heavy long range artillery and mortar bombardment of the area.
Of these 83 were permanent residents of the village while the rest of 372 were people displaced from Jaffna and other areas who had been settled there.
A large number of civilians from a village Ambalkulam also fled their homes as the result of SLA's long range barrages.
Vannivilankulam is a vital junction on the road running west from Mankulam to Mallavi.
The SLA has made several attempts to advance along the interior jungle road, running parallel to the A-9 highway, to its west.
The SLA had also tried to approach Moondumurippu junction and advance north from there along this route towards Mankulam and then to Vannivilankulam.
This plan has not met much success so far.
However, the Army has advanced through another interior jungle track branching from the A-9 highway, north of Kanakarayankulam to approach the Mankulam junction from a direction immediately to its south west.
The SLA launched a barrage on Vannivilankulam and nearby areas from its current positions to the south-west of Mankulam.
Last evening the state owned media claimed that the SLA soldiers had approached the outer limits of Mankulam town.
However, SLA sources in Vavuniya declined to confirm this today.
Mallavi, which is about 8 km. to west of Vannivilankulam, is currently the semi-administrative centre of the Vanni because most of the foreign aid agencies are concentrated in and around this interior farming town. The UNHCR has its office in Vadakaadu, near Vannivilankulam.
02.03.98 SLA claims Mankulam advance