|Prabhakaran, senior LTTE leaders fighting the last battle|
|Friday, 27 February 2009|
Tiger Leader personally recruiting civilians by force
As the Sri Lanka Army speeds up its advance into the remaining 63 square kilometres of land controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran had reportedly told his senior leaders that he would not leave the country and would fight the military until his death. According to the civilians and the LTTE cadres who had surrendered to the military, it has been revealed that most of the senior level leaders such as Pottu Amman, Soosai and Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthony themselves are leading from the front in the battlefield under the direct command of Prabhakaran.
The LTTE Chief had said he would come to the battlefield very soon if the military further penetrates Tiger defences and advance into the LTTE held areas. He has also reportedly urged the people to join him stating that otherwise he would personally recruit the civilians by force.
He has reportedly stated that neither he nor the senior command of the Tigers would leave the country but would fight to the end. However he has promised to regain all the lost area very soon and until then had urged the people help him strengthen the manpower of the organization.
Civilians, who surrendered to the Navy on Tuesday, had revealed that they themselves saw Prabhakaran in the Puthukkudiyiruppu area and Pottu Amman and Charles Anthony at Matalan in Mullaitivu on February 4. Pottu Amman was engaged in the forcible recruitment of civilians in Matalan.
Sea Tiger Leader Soosai had been visiting the civilians gathered inside the Safe Zone on a regular basis in order to recruit them. However, on one occasion, a group of people had shouted at Soosai and asked him to leave the place. Later some armed cadres had assaulted all those civilians that had shouted at Soosai.
Intercepted LTTE radio communications also revealed that senior level cadres are personally commanding the battle against the military.
According to civilian information, most of the senior leaders are travelling on motorbikes wearing helmets that cover the entire head in order to prevent being identified by civilians.
According to surrendered LTTE cadres, all senior leaders except Prabhakaran are in the battlefield commanding the remaining cadres, which are some 500 to 700 in strength. Another 2500 civilians, who were forcibly recruited and given three days weapons training had been deployed on the battlefront.
In the recent past, the military found a large number of bodies of LTTE cadres and mass graves in Puthukkudiyiruppu area most probably they were of civilians who had been recruited forcibly.
Medical facilities are limited in the remaining LTTE held area and the Tigers are taking most of the medicine and food sent by the government for the trapped civilians. The most recent instance was when the government sent several tons of essential food items through the ICRC to the uncleared areas by sea. After unloading all the goods at Puthumatalan, the stock had been transported by ICRC officials to Matalan area, where a group of LTTE cadres had collected some 50% of the stock and taken it away stating that they were from the administrative section of the LTTE after informing the government officials to distribute the rest among the civilians.
Escaped civilians also revealed that if someone needed even to have a Paracetamol tablet, they had to go to a place where the LTTE cadres are present to forcibly recruit civilians into the LTTE. When they went to collect medicine, these LTTE cadres had forcibly recruited them into the organization. Because of this reason, most of the civilians were refraining from even going to collect medicine, they had said.
However, it now appears that LTTE Chief Prabhakaran is trying his last attempt to prevent the military from advancing. But it is too late for the LTTE chief to think of effectively doing so as the troops are now on the doorstep of LTTE’s last bastion Puthukkudiyiruppu.
Despite continued appeals for a ceasefire and foreign intervention, Prabhakaran is unable to get any outside support as the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime had effectively blocked all such avenues of help. Though some foreign countries apparently want to help Prabhakaran they are unable to do so as the LTTE had been tarnished internationally.
The government and the military are now counting the days to completely wipe out terrorism from Sri Lanka and the ground military commanders had been reportedly instructed to finish the war within a few days from now onwards in order to rescue the remaining trapped civilians from LTTE clutches.
Last ditch attempt by Tigers to recapture Mullaitivu
Around 6 am on Tuesday (24), troops operating in the Naththikandal lagoon and Mullaitivu town area decided to conduct a sudden search operation within the area between Naththikandal lagoon and north of the A-35 road. This operation was launched since information was received that a group of heavily armed LTTE cadres had infiltrated the military defences.
59 Division soldiers of the 26 Sri Lanka National Guard, 12 Light Infantry, 11 Gemunu Watch, 14 Vijayaba Regiment and 9 Field Engineers were also part of this operation. As a battalion of the 1 SR monitored a movement from behind several palmyra trees, a group of LTTE cadres had suddenly opened fire at the troops. The ensuing fire exchange had lasted for over five hours until the evening. During the battle, 13 LTTE cadres were killed. The troops lost seven men including an officer and about the same number of soldiers were injured.
The LTTE had used thermobaric weapons, which after being fired develops a major heat in the area resulting in the targeted objects being reduced to ashes.
On Wednesday morning, the troops during their search and clearing operation came across another two LTTE cadres. One was shot dead and the other jumped into a jeep of the Commanding Officer of 11 Gemunu Watch and blew himself up. However, the Commanding Officer was not in the vehicle but the driver was killed due to the suicide blast.
Later troops found a large stock of military items including, two Thermobaric weapons, grenades, T-56 weapons, pistols, rifles and maps used by the LTTE cadres in their attack. All fifteen bodies of the Tiger cadres were recovered by the troops from the area.
It was later revealed that a total of fifteen LTTE cadres had infiltrated the military defences with the objective of capturing the Mullaitivu town area with simultaneous attacks launched from all other directions from Mullaitivu north.
According to intelligence information, the LTTE had planned to launch their attack to capture Mullaitivu town by Wednesday. It is also revealed that if the LTTE were able to re-capture Mullaitivu, a large number of LTTE supporters in Norway were to celebrate this event on Wednesday.
It is learnt that those supporters had been informed on Tuesday that the LTTE would re-capture Mullaitivu soon after driving away the military. This indicates how important the Mullaitivu town is for the LTTE in order to satisfy the Diaspora.
In the last few weeks, the LTTE has made more than five attempts to infiltrate the military defences in Mullaitivu, but all these attempts were repulsed by the troops and a large number of LTTE cadres were killed in the confrontations.
With the advance of 58 Division from West of Puthukkudiyiruppu , 53 Division and Task Force 8 from South of Puthukkudiyiruppu and 55 Division from Chalai area, the remaining LTTE cadres are trapped and prevented from moving towards the Mullaitivu build-up area any more, where the 59 Division is stationed as a defensive division.
Intense fighting has continued for hours between the troops and the terrorists in the last few days as the LTTE, in their last bid to hold Puthukkudiyiruppu, the only township remaining for them other than small hideouts, went on directing heavy fire towards the marching troops.
As this report is filed, the township area is now surrounded by the troops from the northern edge up to the southern boundary.
Earth bund, constructed by the LTTE across Perawil in Puthukkudiyiruppu west to protect the town, was taken by the troops on Tuesday and the second bund erected to the south of Puthukkudiyiruppu was also breached by the advancing troops.
With the taking of the two earth bunds, the army is now in the Puthukkudiyiruppu built-up area west and south of the Puthukkudiyiruppu town centre. In the last few weeks, troops had been operating inside the Puthukkudiyiruppu jungle area.
On Tuesday, one more LTTE camp was captured by the Task Force IV troops, following heavy clashes. After a fierce battle the LTTE abandoned the camp and fled the area.
Later, troops found forty-five 80mm mortar barrels, fifteen 80 mm bipods, thirty two base plates, fourteen 60 mm mortar launchers, forty-three 60 mm mortar barrels, twenty-five 2’’ commando mortar barrels, three 120 mm artillery barrels, three .50 weapons without butts, one Carl Gustave (RL) weapon and a large stock of T-56, T-81 and 303 rifles during further search in the captured LTTE camp.
Troops are now speeding up their advances to wipe out the remaining LTTE cadres since international pressure is growing due to the civilians being trapped inside the uncleared areas.
However, the troops are unable to take civilians out of the battlefield as the LTTE continues to use civilians as a human shield. Reports said that the LTTE had placed several heavy weapons among the civilians and the troops are unable to fire back due to the civilian presence. According to escaped civilians, almost all the civilians are waiting to escape from the area, but the LTTE were not allowing them to leave.
LTTE aircraft takeoff
The two light aircraft of the LTTE that carried out a failed air raid on Colombo last week had taken off from Mullaivaikkal area in the north of Mullaitivu, civilians who fled the area said.
They said that they had seen the two aircraft suddenly taking off from the ground in Mullaivaikkal area around 8.30 in the night on February 20. However they were unable to reveal the exact location from where the two aircraft had taken off.
These civilians, who had sought refuge with the security forces, revealed that those aircraft never returned to the area. Some had seen these two aircraft dragged on wheels by the LTTE cadres from Puthukkudiyiruppu area under armed guard on the same evening.
On February 20, soldiers in the frontline in Mullaitivu and Puthukkudiyirruppu saw two unidentified planes flying southwards from uncleared areas .They alerted Colombo about the two planes, which appeared to be on their way to Colombo.
Later the two planes were gunned down by the security forces in Colombo before the Sky Tigers could achieve their targets believed to be the Air Force Headquarters in Colombo and the Katunayake Air Force base.
So far, the military have found seven runways belonging to the LTTE in the Wanni region.
The reason for LTTE setbacks – eyewitness accounts
According to the security forces the fleeing civilians had cited four reasons for the continuous set backs of the LTTE. The first one was the defection of Karuna Amman from the LTTE. It had badly affected the LTTE’s cadre strength. According to senior LTTE leaders, a large number of the cadres had left the organization with the breakaway of Karuna and the morale of most of the cadres had been adversely affected.
The second was the forcible recruitment of civilians and youth into the LTTE organization. Due to this, people were disappointed with the organization as their sons and daughters or husband or fathers had been forcibly taken away and recruited.
The third one was the fire power of the Sri Lanka Army. Surrendered cadres had revealed that when the army fired Multi-Barrel Rocket Launchers (MBRL), they were unable to escape and though they were not injured by the fire the sound and explosion of the shell attack had terrified them. Most of the surrendered cadres said that when they heard the noise of the start-up of the MBRL vehicle, they all went into hiding in fear.
The final reason for the setback suffered by the LTTE according to the people and surrendered LTTE cadres was the successful military operation launched by the Sri Lanka Army. The LTTE leadership had continued to claim that they were unable to face the military advances launched by the Army under the direction of Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who they had tried to kill before the war started.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 09 October 2009 )|
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