Fighting on Nagar Kovil interior road

[TamilNet, Friday, 07 April 2000, 21:38 GMT]
Heavy fighting broke out between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lanka army (SLA) on the road between Eluthumadduval and Nagar Kovil in Jaffna's southeastern sector last night from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. A SLA officer in Vadamaradchi east said that the fighting had broke out when the Liberation Tigers had attempted to advance on the interior road from their positions near Eluthumadduval towards Nagar Kovil.

Sources in the area said that a heavy artillery bombardment was called by the army on the mangroves by the Eluthumadduval-Nagar Kovil road following the confrontation.

The Tigers who are consolidating their positions on the A9 highway between Eluthumadduval and Pallai appear to have launched last night's operation with additionally inducted troops for the purpose of mounting the military pressure on the strategically located Nagar Kovil SLA camp sources claimed.

Meanwhile Gen.Anuruddha Ratwatte, Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister for Defence told the cabinet of ministers today that the government has drawn up a new strategy for thwarting the current offensive by the Liberation Tigers to take Jaffna.

Today's briefing comes in the wake of the sudden transfer of the SLA Special Forces Commander Brigadier Gamini Hettiarachi of the elite 53 division. The officer was transferred to the 22 brigade in Trincomalee and the Commander of this brigade, Maj.Gen. Sisira Wijesuriya, was brought in to lead the Special Forces in Jaffna.

Sources in Jaffna said that the sudden transfer of Brigadier Hettiarachi was due to differences in opinion over the manner in which the Special Forces are being deployed in operations against the Tigers in Jaffna now. An SLA officer in the north, however, denied this, claiming that the transfer was to do with the SLA's new strategy for stalling the LTTE's offensive into Jaffna.


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