STF deployed on Mannar MSR
[TamilNet, Saturday, 27 February 1999, 00:44 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government began moving the Special Task Force (STF) to areas in Mannar held formerly by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) in order to pull out two brigades of the 21 division for operations in the Vanni. The STF moved into the Uyilankulam detachment yesterday.
SLA troops in this camp have been redeployed in the Mankulam sector said Police sources in Mannar.
The SLA's 21-2 brigade troops also pulled out of their camp at Vankalai yesterday. Vankalai is about 8 kilometres southeast of the Mannar town.
The SLA's positions at Vankalai which were vacated yesterday were beefed up with Police units said sources.
The army detachment (of the 21-2 brigade) at Nadukkudah near Thalaimannar on the Mannar island was pulled out completely yesterday for redeployment in the Vanni.
The Mannar GA has informed government department heads at the monthly district development meeting yeaterday that the areas which were and are held by the SLA currently between Chettikulam and Thalaimannar will come under the supervision of the STF in a few days.
Sources said that the 21 division is being pulled out from Mannar to free a large number of troops deployed in the SLA's forward positions in the Vanni for offensives operations into LTTE controlled areas.
They said that even half of the 2000 STF commandos who were trained recently will help the government hold the Main Supply Route to Mannar without much hassle.
The pulling out of sections of the 21 brigade, however, has given rise to strong speculation among the informed sources in the north that the army is preparing for a major operation to wrest more territory from the Liberation Tigers.
20.02.99 SLA re-deployed to hold MSR