SLA operation in Vakarai
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 September 1998, 17:47 GMT]
The SLA conducted a limited operation from Vakarai today in the direction of Kathiraveli. A soldier was injured by an anti personnel mine blast during the advance which began around 9 a.m. this morning sources said.
Kathiraveli is a coastal hamlet, 12 kilometers north of Vakarai and remains under the control of the Liberation Tigers. Vakarai was recaptured by the army on June 22 this year.
Government troops advanced and remained in area called Ambanthanaaveli five kilometers north of Vakarai this afternoon said sources.
The army believes that the Liberation Tigers continue to use the coast north of Vakarai, particularly the Kathiraveli sector, for sending supplies and troops by sea to the Vanni to strengthen their position in the Vanni where they are fighting to stop a sixteen months old military operation to open the highway to Jaffna.
Vakarai was a key LTTE stronghold in the eastern province since the army vacated its camp here in 1995 after the Liberation Tigers overran several SLA camps in the region.
In June the army moved from Valaichenai, 32 kilometers north of Batticaloa, along the coastal road to Vakarai about 26 kilometers further north.
The aim of this operation, according to SLA analysts, was to cut off the LTTE's main supply point to the Vanni from the east coast.
The coastal road from Valaichenai to Vakarai is now under the SLA's control. The road links Batticaloa to Mutur and was the old route to Trincomalee.
The vast hinterland to the west of this road in Vakarai still remains under the control of the Liberation Tigers.