Kaithady SLA base captured - LTTE

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 May 2000, 16:07 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers said Wednesday they had overrun the strategically important Sri Lanka Army (SLA) base at Kaithady, killing one hundred soldiers and wounding hundreds more and cutting off thousands of SLA troops in the Thenmaradchchi sector.

In a statement released Wednesday from their London offices, the Tigers dismissed as "malicious propaganda" claims by the Sri Lanka government they had shelled populated areas in Jaffna and said the SLA was preventing civilians from moving to safe areas north west of Jaffna.

The text of the press release follows:

"Over one hundred Sri Lankan troops have been killed and several hundreds injured when heavily armed commando units of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stormed into the defence lines and overran the military complex at Kaithady this evening.

"Strategically important Kaithady garrison town with its heavily fortified military bases fell to the fighting formations of the Liberation Tigers after 12 hours of ferocious combat. Situated about 5 kilometres at the entrance of the Jaffna city, Kaithady formed the buffer zone with crucial supply routes to the government troops based in Jaffna city and Palaly airport. The A9 highway linking Navatkuli bridge and the main Kopay Road that cuts through Kaithady, have been brought under the control of the LTTE fighters posing major logistic problems to thousands of troops stationed in the Thenmarachchi division of the Jaffna peninsula.

"The LTTE fighters launched a massive assault on the Kaithady military complex last night with the support of heavy artillery and mortar bombardment. Overwhelmed by the speed and ferocity of the Tiger onslaught the Sri Lankan soldiers gave up their stiff resistance and fled in total disarray leaving their dead colleagues. Tamil tiger fighters have recovered a huge haul of modern weapons including armoured vehicles. The fall of this strategically crucial garrison town and its surrounding villages situates Chavakachcheri town to a vulnerable position for LTTE assault.

"In the meantime, fighting continued in the municipal outskirts of the coastal sectors of the Jaffna city. The Liberation Tigers have been consistently appealing to civilian masses to move to safe areas specifying the security regions in Valigamam West.

"The LTTE also wishes to deny the malicious propaganda by the government that our fighters have been pounding artillery and mortar shells on heavily populated areas. We wish to point out that it is the Sri Lankan army that has been preventing the free mobility of the civilians to safe areas under the cover of curfew."

(Please click on the image for larger map.-TamilNet)

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