LTTE ’strategic bastion’ in north captured: Sri Lankan military

September 2nd, 2008 - 10:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Sep 2 (IANS) The Sri Lankan military Tuesday claimed that its troops fully captured a “strategic bastion” from the Tamil Tiger rebels in the war-torn north of the country amid fierce resistance from the guerrillas. The defence ministry, which earlier in the day said three-fourths of Mallavi, a highly guarded, Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam-held village located on the Mankulam-Vellankaum road in west Mullaitivu, was captured by the security forces Monday, said the entire village area was captured by the troops by Tuesday evening.

“The military advanced towards Mallavi (and) came under heavy resistance from the LTTE as the outfit was engaged in a desperate attempt to save its strategic hub,” the defence ministry said.

The fighter jets of the Sri Lankan Air Force also carried out air raids targeting suspected rebel positions in support of the advancing ground troops.

Hailing the capture of Mallavi as a “major success” in the ongoing onslaught against the rebels, the military said LTTE’s three main supply routes, Vellankulam-Mankulam, Mallavi-Kokkavil, Mallavi-Nachchikuda and several link roads were running across this central town.

The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said 43 rebels and three soldiers were killed while 31 guerrillas and 21 soldiers were wounded during these sporadic clashes in Weli-Oya, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Jaffna areas.

The ministry has released photographs of the newly captured areas in the north.

The pro-LTTE website quoted LTTE sources in Wanni as saying the rebels have fiercely confronted a multi-pronged military advancement in the Kilinochchi district and located seven dead bodies of soldiers killed in the action Monday.

“The (Sri Lanka Army) SLA’s push to advance through several fronts was thwarted after stiff fighting that continued throughout the night till Tuesday morning,” the pro-rebel website claimed Tuesday morning.

The ministry of human rights and disaster management has announced that the ministry of defence had taken “swift measures to establish a safe corridor” to enable civilians in the LTTE-held territory in the north to enter government-held areas in Vavuniya.

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