SLA moves into new territory

[TamilNet, Sunday, 07 March 1999, 14:04 GMT]
(CORRECTED) Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister for Defence, Gen.Anuruddha Ratwatte, visited Vavuniya today with the three service commanders and the Commissioner General of Essential Services to review the progress of Operation 'Rana Gossa'.

He held a high level conference with Maj.General Lionel Balagalle who until recently was the Sri Lankan Security Forces Commander in the Vanni, the Chettikulam SLA Brigade Commander, Brigadier C. Kulatunga, the Vavuniya GA and other government officials.

The supply of essential goods and arranging public transport to the newly captured areas, comprising 24 villages, was discussed at the conference said sources.

SLA sources said that the army has brought under its control the key interior junction of Iranai Iluppaikkulam which is 27 kilometres Northwest of Vavuniya; that troops are currently manning positions north of the Moondrumurippu junction.

The SLA had launched a two pronged operation to the west of Omanthai and to the north of Poovarasankulam on Friday and had moved unopposed to bring this large area west of the A9 under its control.

Only a minor clash with the Liberation Tigers in which a soldier was killed was reported during the whole operation said SLA sources in Vavuniya.

They said that with the success of Operation 'Rana Gossa', all traffic from Madhu to the other parts of the Vanni will have to either pass through the army positions at Iranai Iluppaikulam or the Liberation Tigers will have to open a new road through very tough terrain running north from Palampiddy.

The latter will be an extremely difficult task for the Tigers they added.

The Vanni was linked to the outside world by the interior gravel and mud road from Uyilankulam-Parappukkadanthaan-Madhu-Palampiddy-Iranai Iluppaikulam-Moondrumurippu and Mallaavi.

With the completion of this operation, the Vavuniya district has been brought under the army's control completely with the only exception of the Periya Thambanai village division said Sri Lankan government officials.

The Vavuniya district comprises 102 village (Grama Sevaka) divisions.


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