SLA weighs Colombuthurai losses
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 06 September 2000, 05:40 GMT]
"It cannot be denied that the loss of lives was greater than what was achieved" Jaffna Sri Lanka army spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratna told the Jaffna daily Uthayan published Wednesday, referring to the heavy losses sustained by the SLA when it attempted to take a section of Colombuthurai, the southeastern coastal suburb of Jaffna town. "There is no point in capturing mere territory " the brigadier told the paper, adding that the Liberation Tigers are continuing to vehemently block the army from constructing new defence lines in Colombuthurai. The SLA's forward defences here were damaged and destroyed in a fierce counter attack by the Tigers on Monday.
The Liberation Tigers captured this densely populated suburb of Jaffna town in May this year following a mass evacuation of residents from the battle zone. The Sri Lankan government is concerned about the prospect of heavily fortified defences of the LTTE in a strategic sector of the northern city. Colombuthurai is about two kilometers from the SLA's high security zone in the heart of Jaffna town. The LTTE's defences in this suburb are part of an uninterrupted logistical network unifying the southeastern lagoon coast of the peninsula with its hinterland and the Vanni main land.
"The fact that about 200 soldiers got killed and more than 800 wounded in this failed attempt to expand the forwards defences of the army by a few meters in a suburb of Jaffna town is worrisome indeed. The government should give serious thought to the military situation in Jaffna, particularly because this operation into Colombuthurai was backed by the liberal use of the expensive MBRL's and bombing and strafing by the newly acquired Mig 27s " a retired military officer in Colombo told TamilNet.
The SLA says that the defence of the Jaffna town will continue to be very precarious and fragile as long as the LTTE is not dislodged from the south eastern and eastern suburbs of Colombuthurai, Ariyalai and Chemmani.