SLA commando soldier killed
[TamilNet, Saturday, 02 January 1999, 17:22 GMT]
A Special Forces (SF) commando of the SLA's motorcycle unit that was riding ahead of an army convoy was killed this afternoon around 1.15 p.m. at Saththurukkondaan, six kilometers north of Batticaloa town, on the main road when he was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).
The rapid deployment motor cycle party rides ahead of large SLA convoys leaving Batticaloa when the threat is considered high on the main road to Valaichenai and thence to Polannaruwa.
The IED that killed the SF commando had been concealed in a tree said Sri Lankan Police sources.
Although recently purchased Chinese armoured personnel carriers (APCs), South African Buffles and British Unicorns guard the convoys, it has been felt that they are useless against the small groups of Liberation Tigers who set off claymores, fire on the vehicles hit by these mines and quickly melt away into the shrub jungle and villages by the road.
This was the case when another SLA unit was attacked at Aarumukaththaankudiyiruppu, seven kilometers further north of Saththurukkondaan, recently.
The Tigers had caused the damage and withdrawn before the APCs could effectively swing into action.
The motor cycle borne rapid deployment unit of the SF is considered were agile in dealing with such situations.