SLA on alert in Jaffna, intense activity

[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers attacked the Sri Lankan army in two places in Jaffna today. No details of casualties on either side are known.

The first attack was in the village of Kerudavil, near Varani on the Kanakam Puliyadi to Kodikamam road. (there is another village by the same name in Udupiddy behind Valvettithurai).

The second attack later in the afternoon was in Kachchai. Residents said that the army might have sustained heavy damage because the area was cordoned off and searched by the SLA soon after the LTTE attack.

No civilians were allowed to move in or out of the Kachchai area.

The operation was on at the time of the last report of the incident which was around 5.30 p.m.

It is not clear whether the search operation was called off later in the evening.

Meanwhile sources in Jaffna said that SLAF planes were flying in and out of Palaly by the hour today.

They said a large number of troops have moved into the town from Palaly.

The sources speculated that the SLAF was flying in troops to Jaffna to beef up its security, fearing a major LTTE offensive from the mainland to mark the Maaveerar week later this month.

Several Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) are moving about in the town today, said the sources.

The state of alert over the Maaveerar week appears to have made SLA soldiers in Jaffna quite jumpy.

Last night the Jaffna town boomed and echoed with gunfire as soldiers and Policemen manning the numerous checkpoints and bunkers in the area began shooting at random.

The reason was later discovered to be a coconut frond that had fallen somewhere near Rakka road in the Jaffna Municipality area late in the night.

The soldiers at a sentry point nearby had got alarmed at the sound of the falling frond and had begun firing at an imaginary enemy in the dark.

This alerted and scared other sentries and detachments in other parts of the town which are expecting LTTE attacks in the peninsula during the Maaveerar week.


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