SLA advance beaten back - LTTE

[TamilNet, Monday, 25 January 1999, 02:54 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers announced in the Vanni last evening that they had beaten back a major thrust by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) from its positions ahead of Mankulam on Saturday. They said that heavy fighting had raged for three hours in the morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The Tigers said they recovered the body of a SLA soldier who was killed in the fighting.

The following military items, according to the LTTE's announcement, were captured from the SLA: One T56 rifle, one T56-2 rifle, ten rifle magazines, twelve grenades, thirteen ammunition jackets and five hundred empty bags. An axe, mammoties and other tools had also been recovered from the scene of the battle.

Two Liberation Tigers, Mathiyalahan (Rasanayagam Thevagnanavel of Batticaloa) and Mullaikkannan (Selvam Selvakumar of Batticaloa) were killed in the fighting the LTTE said.

Sources in the north-central town of Anuradhapura said heavy shelling by the Liberation Tigers on from the northwest of Mankulam seriously wounded several SLA soldiers.

They said over 30 wounded soldiers were brought to the Anuradhapura hospital and one of the soldiers died on Saturday after being treated at the Intensive Care Unit.

Meanwhile, Operational Head Quarters of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a communiquÈ issued yesterday that troops operating ahead of defences sniped and killed two members of the Liberation Tigers around 9.30 am on Saturday northwest of Mankulam.

On the same day Liberation Tigers had fired mortars at the troops manning the forward defences northwest of Mankulam. Troops retaliated with mortar and artillery fire. Four soldiers received minor injuries, the communiquÈ said.

The communiquÈ added that on Saturday the troops on a limited operation confronted a group of Liberation Tigers in the general area of northwest of Mankulam and engaged them with mortars and small arms fire.

It added that the LTTE suffered heavy casualties and troops recovered 03 T56 weapons and 05 magazines. Two soldiers were killed while 8 were injured in the confrontation.

Around 1.45 pm on the same day troops operating ahead of their defences south of Oddusuddan killed a Tiger and recovered a T56 weapon.

The communiquÈ also said that on information received from the public troops recovered 15 kg of TNT explosives and 02 electrical firing devices in a search operation south of Vavuniya. However, the communique did not say from where the items were recovered.

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