SLA releases casualty figures
[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 March 2000, 13:40 GMT]
Eighty Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops, including five officers have been killed and six hundred and thirteen, including thirty one officers, have been wounded in the fighting with the Liberation Tigers in the Jaffna peninsula since Sunday night said the Ministry of Defence in a press release Thursday afternoon.
However, civilians who fled the fighting on the south-eastern coast of the peninsula said they had seen hundred of bodies of SLA soldiers killed in the fighting in and around the camps that fell to the LTTE on Monday and Tuesday.
Unless their bodies are recovered in an identifiable condition by the LTTE and handed over to the SLA through the ICRC soldiers killed in such circumstances are classified as Missing in Action by the Sri Lankan MoD.
Following is the full text of the SLA press release-
"Troops are consolidating in the newly established positions along the A9 road (Kandy-Jaffna). Own artillery, Sri Lanka Navy and the Air Force engaged identified terrorist targets in general area along the eastern coast, north of Vettilaikerni."
"Monitored LTTE transmissions indicate that they have suffered casualties and some of their vehicles and boats have been destroyed due to security force action. In general areas Sangupiddy and Nagathivaithurai (sic), the intelligence indicated large number of boats anchored in the area and were engaged by artillery.
"Subsequently troops observed a heavy cloud of smoke from the area indicating that there would have been explosions due to artillery fire causing damages to the boats."
"Since the commencement of the confrontation 05 officers and 80 soldiers have got killed in action. 15 officers and 203 soldiers have been injured. 16 officers and 379 soldiers who have received minor injuries are being treated at Palaly army hospital."
The SLA communique has incorrectly referred to Nagathevanthurai, a jetty east of Pooneryn, as Nagathivaithurai.