SLA operation in Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Monday, 29 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Sri Lankan security forces carried out an operation in Batticaloa today, ex-militant sources told TamilNet, quoting Sri Lankan defence officials. According to the Sri Lankan Army (SLA), seven Liberation Tigers were killed and a police station and courthouse destroyed, said the sources.
According to the SLA, the bodies of five Liberation Tigers were recovered along with 11 weapons, 6 motorcycles and a tractor when its troops had attacked the areas of Kokkadicholai, Thikodai and Senthimalai, said the sources.
The SLA had said that the LTTE police station, political office and courthouse at Valavan had been destroyed, said the sources. The SLA had also claimed that one of the dead Tigers was the magistrate at the LTTE courthouse in Valavan, added the sources.
The LTTE's war dead memorial at Thandiyadi had also been destroyed by the SLA, said the sources.
The sources said that cadres of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and Razeek paramilitary group had taken part in the operation.
One SLA column had advanced through the Valaiiravu- Vavunatheevu bridge, another through the Manmunai bridge, and a third from Maha Oya area, said the sources.
The sources said that no major fighting was reported in the area, as the Liberation Tigers had withdrawn ahead of the SLA operation. Sri Lankan defence officials had told the sources, however, that the SLA had blocked all escape routes from the area.
The Sri Lankan government has imposed strict censorship on the reporting of military activity. This, combined with the ban on correspondents entering the war zone has made it impossible to independently verify events taking place there.