Feature Article

Pirapaharan extols Jeyanthan Brigade on 12th anniversary

[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 May 2005, 00:02 GMT]
In April last year, the world witnessed the prowess, fighting spirit and the commitment of the Jeyanthan Brigade which, by executing in Batticaloa soil “the right operation at the right time and the right place, triumphed against betrayal and reclaimed our soil, our people and our cadre," said LTTE leader, Mr. Vellupillai Pirapaharan in a congratulatory message sent to the fighting unit which celebrated the 12th anniversary of its formation on Wednesday.

The Jeyanthan Brigade, raised from fighters from Batticaloa-Amparai, spearheaded the LTTE’s crushing of the six-week rebellion by renegade LTTE commander, Col Karuna. Apart from dismantling Karuna’s military structures, the Jeyanthan Brigade discredited Karuna’s assertion of a North-vs-East divide within the LTTE.

“It is not the armed might or number that decides the direction and the outcome of a war. Skillfully worked out military strategies and men capable of implementing the same with precision and perfection decide the fate of a war. In this respect the Jeyanthan brigade is unique,” Mr. Pirapaharan said.

Jeyanthan Brigade
LTTEs elite brigade troops.
“The brigade, from its very inception, has carried out attacks on enemy’s positions relentlessly.”

“The Jeyanthan brigade excelled both in guerrilla operations and in conventional battles,” the LTTE leader said.

“It successfully destroyed SLA's front defence positions, bunkers, military fences and fortifications. It decimated the Sri Lankan military patrol units. The unit also extended its successful operations into the thick jungles of Vanni and the east.”

“Sri Lanka armed forces feared Jeyanthan Brigade and sought to avoid direct clashes with them. This is a great military achievement of the brigade.”

Jeyanthan BrigadeThe Easter offensive of 2004 against Karuna’s rebellion was the most recent action in the Jeyanthan Brigade’s illustrious campaign history, which included key roles in the defeat in 1997-8 of the SLA’s biggest ever offensive, Operation ‘Jaya Sikirui,’ the overrunning of the massive Elephant Pass base complex in 2000 and, shortly after the unit was raised, the destruction of the SLA base at Pooneryn in 1993.

In almost a decade of almost continuous war, the unit has served in forward areas in every sector of the Tamil homeland, from the Jaffna peninsula to southern Amparai. It has lost 1234 of its fighters.

Mr. Pirapaharan formed a new elite unit on 4 May 1993, naming it after Capt Jeyanthan (alias Sampukuddi Pathmanthan) from Morakkondanchenai who died on the same date in 1991 during an attack on a Sri Lankan naval patrol vessel off Point Pedro.

Within months, the Jeyanthan brigade established itself as an efficient conventional combat group during its maiden operation code named ‘Operation Frog Leap’ which smashed the SLA base at Pooneryn on 11 November 1993.

From mid-1993, fighters trekked from the east to Manal Aru, Vanni to prepare for the offensive. Carrying their weapons and supplies and clashing with Sri Lankan troops on the way, their endurance and combat skills were tested to the limit, the unit taking its first casualties even as it was being forged.

Over the months, fighters arrived in batches at the Jeyanthan Base in Eluthumadduvan, with the last few arriving in October 1993, whereupon the 1,500 strong regiment began massed infantry training.

The assault on the Pooneryn base was the largest offensive the LTTE had staged at the time. The SLA admitted to 600 soldiers killed, along with the loss of a substantial quantity of military equipment destroyed and captured. The Jeyanthan Brigade lost 91 cadres in the attack.

Jeyanthan Brigade troopers served in the Jaffna peninsula in 1995, resisting the Sri Lankan offensives 'Operation Forward Leap' and 'Operation Sun Ray' – the onslaught against Jaffna town.

The Jeyanthan Brigade next major battle was in 1996, during the LTTE’s Operation ‘Unceasing Waves’ in which the SLA’s Mullaitivu army base complex was overrun. Unlike the Pooneryn assault, the LTTE did not withdraw after destroying the camp, but dug in and defeated the SLA’s counteroffensive. The SLA admitted to over 1300 deaths. The LTTE lost over 200 fighters from all participating units.

Troops of the Jeyanthan Brigade joined the resistance to the SLA’s ‘Operation Sath Jeya' in 1996 in which Sri Lankan troops captured Kilinochchi town. Others served in Batticaloa-Amparai.

But as the Sri Lanka Army concentrated its fighting divisions for a major offensive to invade the Vanni and smash the LTTE heartland, the Tigers also massed their combat units, including the Jeyanthan Brigade, in defence.

The callup came days after a bloody assault on the Vanunathivu military base in Batticaloa in which 108 fighters died and hundreds more sustained injuries. Nevertheless, the Jeyanthan Brigade moved north, with many injured fighters insisting on staying with it.

Joining other LTTE units, the Jeyanthan Brigade helped create history in Vanni, by resisting the SLA’s Operations ;Jaya Sikurui,’ ‘Rivibala’ and ‘Rana Gosha.’ Fierce resistance slowed the SLA’s advance to a crawl until the offensive was called off in late 1998, shortly after the LTTE stormed and recaptured Kilinochchi.



Jeyanthan Brigade
Jeyanthan Brigade troops.
Jeyanthan Brigade



In particular, the Jeyanthan Brigade participated in Operation ‘Unceasing Waves II’ (the recapture of Kilinochchi) and, in 2000, Operation ‘Unceasing Waves III’ (the overrunning of Elephant Pass). During the latter offensive, it participated on the assaults on Kattaikaadu, Vetrilaikerni and then in the assault on Elephant Pass itself, continuing its advance up to the present frontline at Muhamalai.

In all 859 fighters of the Jeyanthan Brigade gave up their lives on the Vanni battlefields.

When Col. Karuna staged his rebellion against the LTTE leadership in March 2004, the Jeyanthan Brigade was again serving and training in Vanni. Karuna reportedly urged the Brigade’s commanders to defect and to seek safe passage from the SLA at Muhamalai, but instead they refused. Whilst a proportion remained on the Manal Aru frontlines, a substantial contingent moved south, to dismantle Karuna’s rebellion staged on their home soil.

In 2001, after several years of combat in Vanni, the Jeyanthan Brigade returned to Batticaloa-Amparai. Its presence was most forcefully registered when graffiti appeared in many parts of the Batticaloa district's coastal region controlled by the Sri Lankan security forces, some very close to Army camps: ‘We will go anywhere. We will win anything – Jeyanthan Brigade’

 

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