MoD claims highway gains
[TamilNet, Monday, 17 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) put out a communiqué this afternoon on the third phase of Operation Jayasikurui. It was, however, silent on unconfirmed reports of the capture of Puliyankulam on Saturday.
Nine Special Forces commandos of Division 53 were killed in the SLA assault on Puliyankulam said sources in Vavuniya.
The MoD communiqué sent out this afternoon said - " Operation Jayasikurui troops having launched the third stage of the Operation on 14. November, advanced further north of the Mankulam -Mullaithivu road on 16. November from earlier held positions. Troops confronted a large group of terrorists during their advance and engaged them effectively with mortar and artillery fire, causing heavy casualties among the terrorists. Ground troops estimated at least 20 terrorists killed and a large number wounded. Terrorists withdrew northwards carrying their dead and wounded. Troops recovered one terrorist body along with few military items. 5 soldiers were killed and 17 wounded due to terrorist fire. Troops continue to dominate areas ahead of defences. The Operation continues".
"On 16 November around 6.a.m. south of Kilinochchi troops operating ahead of defences confronted a large number of terrorists and engaged them with mortar and artillery fire causing the terrorists to withdraw.
Two soldiers were killed and 16 wounded due to terrorist fire".
Meanwhile Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister of Defence, Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte visited the Jayasikurui troops this afternoon. They are scheduled to return this evening.
It is not possible to independently verify information as to events in the area as the Sri Lankan government has banned the press from entering the war-zones.