SLA re-deployed to hold MSR

[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 February 1999, 18:06 GMT]
The Police units deployed along the (MSR) A9 route have been replaced with the Sri Lankan Army soldiers (SLA) who were manning the Vavuniya - Mannar road, said sources in the northern town of Vavuniya.

Police sources said that this move had been in response to the requests made by Police for immediate transfer from the area.

The Policemen were originally sent to their positions on the Main Supply Route (MSR) on a guarantee that they would have to serve there only for six months.

Many of them have served for almost two years

Government officials in Vavuniya said that many of the residents who were displaced when the SLA moved into the Vavuniya-Mannar road at the beginning of 1997, have been inquiring whether their lands and houses will be returned after the withdrawal of army.

The Vavuniya Mannar road that was taken by 'Operation Edibala' goes through small towns including; Poovarasankulam, Murungan and Parayanalankulam all the way to Mannar island.

At the time that 'Operation Edibala' was launched, military analysts said that it would test the LTTE's ability to resist further military operations to control the Vanni region. The SLA captured the road without suffering casualties and it was thought that this was an indication of the ease with which the A9 would be captured.

Upon moving into Parayanalangkulam, the Deputy Defence Minister, General Anuruddha Ratwatte, changed the town's name to 'Sapumalpura' .

Sapumal Kumara was last Sinhala prince to capture and bring under Kandyan control the Tamil areas of the island. The Deputy Defence Minister is the MP for Kandy.


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