SLA claims advantage on MSR
[TamilNet, Monday, 10 April 2000, 15:14 GMT]
A senior commander of the Sri Lanka army (SLA) in Jaffna claimed today that his troops have recaptured the segment of the MSR that was controlled by the Liberation Tigers from March 27. Residents in Mirusuvil, however, said this evening that heavy fighting continues to rage on the A9. About 200 SLA soldiers were wounded and three tanks were damaged in fierce engagements near Muhamaalai today, according to SLA sources in Kodikamam.
The senior SLA commander said that the SLA started a two pronged offensive on the positions of the Tigers along the A9 highway between Pallai and Eluthumadduval around 7.30 a.m. this morning. Eleven SLA personnel were killed and 137 were wounded the commander said. Forty seven soldiers were wounded seriously he added.
The SLA had began the two pronged thrust on the stretch of A9 held by the Tigers from Pallai and Eluthumadduval. The two SLA groups had linked up on the A9 during the day despite heavy resistance according the senior officer.
He nevertheless acknowledged that the Tigers are still dominating the eastern flank of the road. Sources in Mirusuvil, however, said this evening that heavy fighting was still raging south of Muhamaalai
Meanwhile a press release by the Operational Headquarters of Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence said that three kilometers of the MSR to the Elephant pass base were captured by the SLA today at 6 p.m.
It said that two T-63 armoured personnel carriers were destroyed or damaged by RPG fire from the Liberation Tigers and that 190 soldiers were wounded during the fighting.
The following is the full text of the MoD release on the security situation as at 2015 hours on 10 April 2000 -
"Security Forces launched an operation to recapture a stretch of 03 Km on the MSR between Muhamalai and Pallai. Troops commenced the operation 0730 a.m. (sic) today and completed by 1800hrs. Ground troops were supported by Air and artillery and Navy covering the coastal front. LTTE offered heavy resistance using machine guns, RPGs, Mortars and artillery. Troops were able to overcome the resistance and capture the MSR.
"11 security forces personnel were killed and 47 wounded. In addition 143 security forces personnel received minor injuries are treated (sic) at Palaly military hospital. Terrorist casualties are not known but estimated to be very high.
"During confrontation T- 63 -2 armoured vehicle (sic) due to terrorist RPG fire. 122 mm artillery gun and a Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) belongs (sic) to the LTTE was (sic) located and engaged by Artillery and Air Force"