Auxiliary units clear arms - VoT
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 14 December 1999, 15:27 GMT]
The Voice of Tigers (VoT) said in its special news broadcast at noon today, that the Liberation Tigers were continuing t heir advancing into the areas controlled by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). The radio said "auxiliary units" of the LTTE were engaged in removing arms, ammunition and other military hardware from recently captured areas.
SLA sources in Jaffna said the fighting has eased today in the peninsula's southern end where the Liberation Tigers have launched attacks on the SLA positions since Saturday.
The sources told local journalists that SLA troops have tactically withdrawn from the its bases east of the main SLA base complex at Elephant Pass.
Meanwhile the SLA and Police have tightened security in the northern town of Jaffna today the sources added.
The Ministry of Defence in Colombo maintained that the SLA was in control of its positions in the Elephant Pass area and said it had repulsed attacks by the LTTE.
The SLA had also said over the weekend that it had killed over two hundred Tigers, but the LTTE said it had lost only 38 fighters.
The LTTE said it had killed or wounded hundreds of SLA troops in the past few days when it overran three key coastal bases near the Elephant Pass camp. The MoD put SLA losses at 8 killed.
Meanwhile residents in Thenmaradchi said the SLA and the Liberation Tigers continue to exchange artillery and mortar fire.
Government officials and aid workers in Jaffna said there were not much civilian activity in the Chavakachcheri town, though shops were opened and some people were seen on streets today buying provisions. The area remains tense, they said.
Residents said Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) helicopter gunships were seen strafing and firing rockets in the Thanankilappu area. Further details were not known they said.
Civilians who have moved from their homes in Thalayadi, Maruthankerni area in the Vadamaradchi East region are staying at a church at Thalayadi said sources.
Local government officials in the area said they wish to move further north towards Chempiyanpattu. However, SLA soldiers have not allowed them to move from their present location, they said.
The Divisional Secretary of the area, Mr.S.Velayuthapillai, has brought this issue to the attention of the Jaffna, Government Agent, officials said.
About 300 persons belonging to 60 families are staying at the Thalayadi, church officials said.
Meanwhile the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is reported to have responded to a request by the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) to transport Sinhala doctors working at the Jaffna Teaching hospital, said hospital sources.
GMOA said yesterday that it was unsafe for the doctors to be in Jaffna as fighting has escalated in the Peninsula.
Harsha Gunawardene the spokesman for the ICRC in Colombo later said that the bodies of 11 youth, said to be members of the LTTE handed over by the SLA were sent to areas held by the Liberation Tigers in the eastern province this afternoon.