Journalists taken to Jayasikurui FDLs
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
More than 40 foreign and local journalists were taken by the Sri Lankan Army to areas captured in Operation Jayasikurui, since it was launched in May last year. Journalists who went on the guided tour said this evening that the press team was taken from Vavuniya on the A9 highway to Jaffna, through Puliyankulam and Kanakarayankulam to a point 1.5 km from the latter
The journalists were then taken to SLA positions in the jungles to the east of the highway all the way up to Olumadu, which is 3 km to the east of Mankulam on the road to Mullaithivu through Ottisuddan.
Then they were taken through dense jungles, where they said the SLA is consolidating its positions along the forward defence lines (FDL's).
The army briefed the journalists in detail about its operation in the jungles.
A reporter from a leading Sinhalese newspaper who went on the tour said that the army operations in the jungles west of A9 looked more like guerrilla warfare than conventional fighting.
The army told the journalists that the FDLs to the west of A9 highway are less than 2 km from the Mankulam junction and that troops would soon be able to close in on the town from the eastern and western flanks.
The journalists who went on the SLA's guided tour today said that the troops of operation Jayasikurui have built a 5 km long FDL across the A9, 2 km north of Kanakarayankulam.
Troops at Olumadu had told journalists that advancing toward the Mankulam town has been now made easy as the Kanakarayan Aaru (river) which was almost 25 feet during the monsoon has now become fordable.
Journalists who went to north-western extreme of the Army's FDLs near Mankulam said that it was apparent the area had been captured very recently and that they could hear mortar fire from the LTTE's positions in Mankulam and its surroundings.
17.02.98 Journalists to visit forward areas
15.02.98 Heavy fighting near Mankulam