Offensive routed, over 2400 SLA casualties - LTTE

[TamilNet, Saturday, 28 April 2001, 11:41 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers in statement issued from their international headquarters in the Vanni Saturday afternoon said that the Sri Lankan army was pushed back to its original position in the early hours of the morning today. The statement said that the SLA’s 55, 52 Divisions and the elite 53 special forces Division, suffered more than 2400 casualties in ferocious counter offensives by the combat formations of the Liberation Tigers. “LTTE commando units have started clearing the area, about 2 square kilometres, vacated by the army in the Eluthumadduval sector, in southern Jaffna. Decomposing bodies of soldiers and their weapons are scattered everywhere in the area, according to LTTE field commanders”, the statement said.

The following is the full text of the statement issued by the LTTE headquarters in the Vanni Saturday:

The Sri Lankan army suffered a humiliating military debacle with unprecedented heavy casualties as their major offensive operation was repulsed and the troops, which penetrated the LTTE controlled territory, were pushed back to their original positions in the early hours of the morning today. In the ferocious counter-offensiveassaults by the Tamil Tiger combat formations which lasted for four days, more than 400 Sri Lankan troops were killed and over 2000 injured. On our side 75 LTTE fighters, including female cadres, were killed.

LTTE commando units have started clearing the area, about 2 square kilometres, vacated by the army in the Eluthumadduval sector, in southern Jaffna. Decomposing bodies of soldiers and their weapons are scattered everywhere in the area, according to LTTE field commanders. The Tigers have already started cremating thoroughly disintegrated bodies of soldiers with military honours, and identifiable bodies will be handed over to the International Red

Cross.

Just a few hours following the termination of the LTTE's four months old cease-fire in the early hours of the morning on the 24th April, thousands of Sri Lankan troops of the SLA's 52, 53 and 55 Divisions, in a major show of strength, supported by heavy artillery, multi-barrel rocket fire and aerial and naval bombardment, launched a major offensive assault against the LTTE positions in southern Jaffna. Directed by the Deputy Minister General Ratwatte and heads of the armed forces in the Palaly military complex, the Sri Lankan troops initially breached through the heavily entrenched LTTE’s forward defence lines on three fronts along the Kilaly-Eluthumadduval ñNagar Kovil axis. The LTTEís battle-hardened combat units well prepared and anticipating an imminent offensive by the Sri Lankan army launched ferocious counter-offensive assaults using heavy artillery, mortars, and multi-barrel rocket launchers.

The intrusions of the Government troops in Kilaly and Nagar Kovil sectors were repulsed by the LTTE forces on the first day of the offensive inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. But the army managed to hold a 2 kilometre stretch of territory in theEluthumadduval sector near the A9 highway.

These troopers holed up in an area surrounded by the LTTE fighters on three sides faced intense artillery and mortar fire day and night for four days. Unable to sustain the determined assault by the LTTE fighters on one side and the unacceptable mounting casualties on the other, the government troops finally abandoned the captured territory and fled to the original positions in total disarray. Though the land battle ceased today, Israeli Kfirs, and Russian jets are continuing to pound the LTTE’s positions.

30 bodies of the Sri Lankan soldiers were handed over to the ICRC in Vanni this morning and the rest will be handed over later.

 

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