SLA commander in Vanni
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 November 1999, 19:27 GMT]
The commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) is reported to have gone to Kanagarayankulam in the Vanni today amid reports of heavy casualties in two days of intense fighting and major advances by the Liberation Tigers. Unconfirmed reports said over 1,800 Sri Lankan troops have been killed, wounded or are missing.
Sources in the Vanni said the Liberation Tigers have advanced up to the former forward defence lines of the SLA at Janakapura in the Manal Aru or Weli Oya region, which was the starting point of Operation Jayasikuri, launched May 13 in 1997.
Unconfirmed reports this evening said the LTTE has also captured Ampakamam and Karipaddamurippu, strategic areas east of Mankulam.
According to sources in Vanni, an artillery attack on the SLA's Kanagarayankulam base killed six soldiers and wounded 284 and damaged 8 buildings including the armoury and Brigadiers quarters.
Meanwhile, as news of fierce fighting in the Vanni reached the villages in the southern parts of the island, hundreds of soldiers' parents have assembled at Anuradhapura hospitals and the Sri Lanka Army camps to find out the fate of their children, said sources.
Hundreds of parents have gathered tonight at the SLN camp at Pooneva 7 miles north of Medawachchiya which is 15 miles south of Vavuniya town along the Vavuniya-Anuradhapura trunk road. Two regiments of Navy troops are missing since Oddusuddan was overrun, said SLA sources.