SLA positions captured - LTTE
[TamilNet, Monday, 03 August 1998, 23:59 GMT]
At least 30 Sri Lankan Army (SLA) soldiers were killed and several others wounded when the Liberation Tigers attacked their positions in Moonrumurippu, south-west of the strategic town of Mankulam, around midnight yesterday said LTTE sources in Europe.
The Tigers have captured a kilometre long series of Sri Lankan army bunkers held by troops of Operation Jeyasikurui, after 12 hours of heavy fighting, they said. A large quantity of arms and other military equipment has been captured, they added.
They said 14 Tigers died in the fighting.
However, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry said that 15 Sri Lankan troops were killed and 16 wounded. MoD also said that 37 Tigers were killed. Sri Lankan Army claimed that it had recovered the bodies of 16 tigers.
The LTTE counter attack over the weekend comes a few days after an SLA thrust in the Mankulam area was repulsed with heavy casualties. The Tigers said over 30 SLA troops were killed, and the bodies of five recovered after the SLA had withdrawn.
The Mankulam area is the current epicentre of the island's conflict. The SLA's Operation Jeyasikurui is intended to open a Main Supply Route (MSR) from Vavuniya to the Jaffna peninsula. Mankulam town straddles the MSR.
The LTTE have established complex defences in the area, from which the SLA has been trying to dislodge them for many months.
The town's residents fled several months ago, as the SLA began bombarding it, joining the hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians in the Vanni region.