SLA advance in Vadamaradchi
[TamilNet, Monday, 30 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
SLA sources in Jaffna said that fierce fighting between the Liberation Tigers and government troops is still on in the Vadamaradchi east area. The army had moved into the 18 kilometer long coast and its hinterland from three fronts this morning around 11.30 a.m., following a set back earlier in the morning.
A large number of SLA troops backed by artillery broke out of the Thaalaiyadi camp on the southern end of the Vadamaradchi east region towards Nagarkovil where the LTTE, according to SLA sources in the north, has a base.
The Liberation Tigers had resisted the advance of the Sri Lankan government troops at Maamunai around 6.30 a.m. The army had pulled back to Thaalaiyadi following fierce fighting at Maamunai.
The Thaalaiyadi camp is part of the large Vettilaikkerni SLA base on the coast which is linked to the Elephant Pass military complex.
Later in the morning, the army launched simultaneous offensives into the region from its positions in Vallipuram (north), Eluthumattuvaal (west) and Thaalaiyadi (south).
The army's advance was backed by two SLAF helicopter gunships.
The LTTE, according to SLA sources in Vadamaradchi, had launched a fierce interception attack on the advancing SLA troops between Amban and Kudathanai.
Fighting is raging in the area said residents.
They said that one helicopter gun ship was damaged by LTTE fire. The army in Vadamaradchi, however, did not confirm this report.
The Liberation Tigers had also confronted advancing SLA columns near a bridge ahead of Eluthumattuvaal.
Ten SLA soldiers, according to some unconfirmed reports, were killed in the fighting here.
The SLA at Eluthumattuvaal confirmed that there was heavy fighting in the interior but declined to give any details.
No one was allowed into Vadamaradchi east today.