Old Kandy road to lead SLA to Kilinochi?

[TamilNet, Friday, 20 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Army said today that it has advanced several kilometers north of its positions at Karuppattamurippu which is on the road running east from Mankulam junction to Mullaithivu through Ottisuddan.

Reports about the army's advance came amidst a visit to the forward areas of Operation Jayasikurui by Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister for Defence Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte today.

The SLA secured Karuppattamurippu in October 97 by moving along an interior road through the jungles east of, and parallel to, the A-9 highway from Vavuniya to Jaffna.

This interior road cuts north through Karuppattamurippu towards Kilinochchi and was known as the old Kandy road. The distance to Kilinochchi on this road from Karuppattamurippu is about 20 kilometers.

There have been predictions in the Sri Lankan press that the SLA was planning to secure the old Kandy road to avoid the ferocious resistance of the Liberation Tigers on the A-9 and thereby to swiftly move towards Kilinochchi.

The government, however, persisted in its attempt to capture the strategic junction of Mankulam on the A-9 highway. This has not been successful despite months of heavy fighting.

Hence, analysts say that the move along the Old Kandy road is an indication that the government is now proceeding according to the original plan drawn up by Maj. Gen. Asoka Jayawardana who was abruptly stripped off his position in Operation Jayasikurui instead of the strategy of capturing Mankulam eventually and securing the A-9 from there.


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