Heavy fighting continues in Jaffna
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 September 2000, 12:32 GMT]
Fighting continued Wednesday between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lanka army at Eluthumadduval in the Jaffna peninsula. Military sources in Jaffna said that troops are still attempting to repulse Tiger units that overwhelmed some forward positions of the SLA in the Eluthumadduval-Muhamaalai sector Tuesday night. Civilians attempting to leave the northern Thenmaradchchi sector via the Kodikamam-Nelliyadi road to Vadamaratchchi were stopped by troops on the only SLA-held road out of the region.
Troops defending the SLA's southernmost defences in the peninsula along the Kilali-Eluthumadduval-Nagar Kovil axis are under severe pressure due to the Tiger onslaught, according to unconfirmed reports from Jaffna.
"Troops had to fight pitched battles" said an officer at SLA's headquarters in Colombo this afternoon. However, the SLA told reporters in Colombo it has repulsed the Tiger attack, while acknowledging several bunker lines were lost during the initial stage of the attack.
Eluthumadduval is about four kilometres northwest of the Pallai town which was captured by the Liberation Tigers soon after they overran the sprawling Elephant Pass base complex on the gateway to the peninsula. The army established a new line of defence from Kilali on the Jaffna lagoon coast to Nagar Kovil on the southeastern coast of the peninsula through Muhamaalai-Eluthumadduval on the A9 highway.
The first line of defence on this axis has been breached in several places, sources said.
Muhamaalai is in the general area of Eluthumadduval which is about 37 kilometers southeast of Jaffna town.
Meanwhile about twenty civilians have been wounded in the shelling north of the area of fighting. Two were killed in a house on Railway Station road in Kodikamam and one in the village of Iyattaalai near Varani due to shell bursts last night.
Civilians who attempted to flee the war zone with their belongings today were stopped by the SLA on the Kodikamam-Nelliyadi road which remains the only one road linking the Eluthumadduval, Kodikamam sector with the rest of the SLA controlled parts of the peninsula.