Heavy fighting near Kilinochchi

[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 August 1998, 23:56 GMT]
Heavy fighting is reported to have taken place near Kilinochchi in the northern Vanni region. Forty Sri Lankan Army (SLA) soldiers were killed and many were wounded when their column was encircled and ambushed there, said the Liberation Tigers, in a statement issued Thursday from their London offices. The bodies of 10 SLA troops have been recovered said the LTTE.

"On Wednesday night moving under cover of darkness, the Sinhala armed forces stationed near Kilinochchi left their camp and launched an attack on Tamil civilian settlements in Uruthirapuram.", said the LTTE.

The Tigers said that they had ambushed and encircled the SLA troops on their return journey at 9.am on Thursday.

SLA relief forces from Kilinochchi "made several rescue attempts throughout the day, but all of them were foiled" said the LTTE, adding that the heavy fighting had continued till 6.30pm.

"By nightfall, the encircled Sinhala soldiers escaped the cordon and fled carrying the injured" said the press release.

Forty Sri Lankan troops had been killed along with fifteen Tigers said the LTTE, adding that it had captured "many arms and ammunition" from the SLA.

"LTTE forces recovered 10 abandoned bodies of Sinhala soldiers. Nine of them are to be handed over to the ICRC. One mutilated body of soldier has been cremated with full military honours," said the LTTE.

The SLA confirmed heavy fighting in the Kilinochchi area, but gave a different account of the fighting.

SLA spokesman Brig. Sunil Tennekoon told the media on Thursday that the SLA had moved 8 km to Kaddukulum, west of Kilinochchi, where a "heavy confrontation had taken place with the LTTE".

The SLA said that the LTTE had rushed reinforcements "from north and south" and that the SLA had used heavy artillery and mortars to "repulse the attacks".

The spokesman said that "technical sources" have confirmed that over 110 LTTE cadres had been killed. The spokesman said 26 SLA troops had been killed and 22 wounded.

Reports of the fighting could not be independently verified as the Sri Lankan government has banned reporters from entering the warzone. Furthermore, the Sri Lankan authorities have imposed strict censorship on the reporting of military news earlier this year.

 

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