Tigers still said holding Kanakarayan Kulam
[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 January 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Troops of Operation Jayasikurui ('Victory Assured' in Sinhalese) contrary to Sri Lanka Government (SLG) claim last week that Kanakarayan Kulam had come under the military's control, are still two kilometers from the strategic town on the A-9 and have to cross Kanakarayan Aaru (river), to reach their goal, said sources in Vavuniya today.
Troops of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) detailed to capture Kanakarayan Kulam are now at the junction where roads from Karappukkuththi, Katkidangu and Periyamadu meet, which is two kilometers east of Kanakarayan Kulam.
The State controlled TV showed SLA troops crossing the inundated road at this junction last week.
The SLA tried to capture Kanakarayan Kulam in October 1997 by advancing along the Karappukkuththi road and across the river.
But the LTTE counter attacked and captured large military supply stores which had been set up east of Kanakarayan Kulam.
The junction where the interior road from Karappukkuththi and Katkidangu meet is connected with Kanakarayan Kulam by a road connected by a causeway over Kanakarayan river. The causeway was destroyed by the LTTE last year.
Kanakarayan Kulam, on the Vavuniya - Jaffna road is a strategically important town which the army is bent on capturing.
It is 11 km north of Puliyankulam and 10 km southeast of Mankulam.
LTTE fighters have hampered the advance of the SLA towards Kanakarayan Kulam by launching regular attacks, though they had not done so after troops captured the junction yesterday.
Jayasikurui troops are advancing northwards from Puliyankulam parallel to the
Vavuniya - Jaffna Road east of the Kanakarayan Kulam River towards Mankulam to
link up with Kilinochchi which is under SLA control.
Sri Lanka's Deputy defence minister, Anuruddha Ratwatte told foreign
correspondents last month, that the operation will be completed before February
4, when Sri Lanka celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.
Three SLA divisions are deployed in Operation Jayasikurui, the longest military
operation in South Asia, which is in its 9th month.
12.01.98 MoD reiterates claim
11.01.98 SLA claims strategic junction is captured
05.12.97 Fighting was at close quarters - MoD
14.10.97 Heavy fighting east of Kanakarayan Kulam
07.10.97 Heavy fighting continues in Vanni