12 Sri Lankan troops, 4 Tigers killed in Vakaneri, SLA trooper captured

[TamilNet, Friday, 14 July 2006, 06:27 GMT]
At least 12 Sri Lankan troopers were killed when Liberation Tigers confronted a Sri Lanka Army (SLA) unit, comprising at least 100 soldiers, that had moved 5 km inside LTTE controlled territory in Batticaloa district. Four LTTE cadres were killed and six wounded in the fighting in Vakaneri, 37 km northwest of Batticaloa town. The bodies of twelve SLA soldiers were recovered by the Tigers, P. Dayamohan, the Batticaloa district LTTE political head told TamilNet. One Lance Corporal of the SLA has been captured alive by the LTTE. SLA sources in Colombo claimed that a group of SLA soldiers who were on a search and clear operation have gone missing in Vakaneri.

SLA troopers killed in LTTE counter-attack in Vakaneri [Photo: NTT]

A SLA soldier killed in Vakaneri [Photo: NTT]
A SLA soldier killed in Vakaneri [Photo: NTT]
SLMM officials visited the Vakaneri attack site [Photo: NTT]
Wounded soldiers, rushed to Pollonaruwa government hospital , were identified as Navarathna, Jayantha, Anurapandara and Kunarathna.

The SLA soldier captured alive by the LTTE, was identified as Vijayapala Karunarathna, 24 from Monaragala.

Mr. Dayamohan said that Sri Lankan troops based at a camp in the Valaichenai Paper Factory north of Batticaloa had moved into the LTTE territory at Kulathumadu in Vakaneri Thursday night.

The Tigers confronted them Friday around 6:00 a.m.

The fighting lasted one hour before the troops withdrew, leaving the bodies of their comrades.

SLA camps located in Miyankulam, Karadikkulam and Valaichenai Paper Factory provided support mortar and artillery fire when the SLA troopers were withdrawing, Dayamohan said.

Regular soldiers of the SLA's 23-2 Brigade conducted the raid, Dayamohan told TamilNet.

Initial reports of the raid being carried by Deep Penetration Units (DPUs) were incorrect, he said.

Civilians in the area have been displaced to Pendukalsenai by the fighting.

There have been several raids against the LTTE in the area in the past few months, many involving Army-backed paramilitaries. SLA artillery and mortars have often covered the retreat of these DPUs.

Friday's incursion, involving a large number of regular Sri Lankan troops with artillery support marks a degree of escalation in the long-running 'low intensity‚ war' between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan military.

LTTE is to hand over the dead bodies of SLA soldiers to the SLMM in the LTTE controlled Illupadaichchenai in Batticaloa district Saturday morning.

Representatives of the International Committee of Red Cross are expected to facilitate the transport of SLA soldiers' bodies to SLA controlled area in the district.

A brief statement issued by the Sri Lanka Army in its website said that that troops who were on a search and clear operation in "Vakaneri area, Welikanda came under LTTE motar and small arms fire."

Batticaloa LTTE office released the following names of the LTTE fighters killed in the attack:

  1. Captain Navalogan (Nagarajah Kugan) from Murippu, Mulliyavalai
  2. 2nd Lt. Veera (Masilamani Maheswaran) from Kulathumadu, Vahaneri, Batticaloa
  3. Captain Puvathanan (Ganesh Pirabhakaran) from Thihiliveddai, Santhiveli, Batticaloa, and
  4. 2nd Lt. Ilaveeran (Kandiah Kones) from College Road, Santhiveli, Batticaloa.


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