SLA battles to keep life-line open
[TamilNet, Monday, 27 March 2000, 18:17 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) headquarters sources in Colombo said this evening the Liberation Tigers were holding in the Pallai sector a section of the Main Supply Route (MSR) from Jaffna to the Elephant Pass base. Meanwhile, the Voice of Tigers (VoT) said in its night news bulletin today that new fighting formations of the LTTE were continuing the Unceasing Waves III offensive into the Jaffna peninsula.
The VoT said that its troops are now attacking SLA positions in Pachchilaipalli, Soranpattu and Pallai in Jaffna and that the Sea Tigers are engaging Sri Lanka Navy craft off the coast of Vadamaradchi east.
The SLA claimed that it is utilising another supply route to its bases at Iyakkachchi and Elephant Pass currently. Sources in Jaffna, however, pointed out that interior dirt roads and tracks to the west of the A9 highway that can function as alternative supply routes to the Iyakkachchi-Elephant Pass sector are not fit for heavy vehicles and high traffic.
SLA headquarters sources in Colombo said that troops began an operation on the A9 highway later today to retake that part of the MSR held by the Tigers now.
The breach in the MSR between Jaffna and the Iyakkachchi-Elephant Pass sector has caused logistical problems for the army in sending in reinforcements and evacuating the wounded from the battle zones in the southern part of the Thenmaradchi division, military sources in the north said.
Helicopters are being rushed to the war zone as a consequence despite the threat of anti aircraft gun fire from the Tigers they added.
SLA sources in Jaffna said that there were 130 mm, 152 mm and 122 mm artillery guns at the Pallai firing base that was attacked today by the Liberation Tigers.
The destruction of the guns at the SLA's main artillery base and ammunition dump in Pallai could adversely affect the defences of Elephant Pass, as this garrison on the gateway to Jaffna may not have adequate fire power from the rear to pound any offensive concentration of the LTTE ahead of its forward positions in the future.