SLA activity in Mannar
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 23 November 1999, 09:46 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops began pouring in large numbers into Mannar town today residents said. The town, on Mannar island, remains tense according to them. The Voice of Tigers (VoT) said in its special broadcasts today that heavy fighting continued in the Manthai area as the LTTE's fighting units pressed on with their offensive.
Mannar Police sources claimed that troops moving into the town belonged to SLA units that withdrew from positions to north and northwest of the Thallady base.
However, Tamil paramilitary sources in Mannar town speculated that troops might be moving out of the Thallady base itself.
SLA sources in Vavuniya denied this, claiming that the base is secure. The Tigers are continuing to pound the Thallady base with artillery they said.
The SLA is retaliating in the direction of the positions of the advancing LTTE units, they added.
Meanwhile, medical workers said four civilians were killed and at least 10 others wounded on Saturday, November 20, when the Sri Lanka Army shelled the hamlets of Aatkaaddiveli, Vaddakkandal, Kumaranayankulam, north of Mannar-Murungan road.
Hundreds of villagers from this area subsequently moved into the precincts of Madhu, church sources said. The church came under artillery and according to survivors, tank fire on Saturday night.
Meanwhile the bodies of 27 of those killed at Madhu church on Saturday night were handed over to their relatives yesterday evening, after an inquest was held in Mannar.
The Bishop of Mannar, Ret.Rev.Rayappu Joseph and the Additional Government Agent of Mannar, Mr. V.Visvalingam also travelled to Madhu to hand over the bodies. The funeral were held yesterday, church sources said.