SRI LANKA ARMY SUFFERS HEAVY LOSSES –at the hands of Tamil Tigers

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TAMILNET reports that officials of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said that 130 Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were killed in the multi-front offensive push by the SLA in Ki’linochchi last Tuesday.

More than 300 soldiers were wounded in the heavy battle that raged throughout the day till 4.00pm in five main localities and along a wide stretch of the frontiers in Ki’linochchi.

Meanwhile, in Ki’laali, 40 SLA soldiers were killed and more than 120 sustained injuries.

36 dead bodies of the SLA soldiers have been recovered so far; 28 in Ki’linochchi and eight in Ki’liaali, in the mopping up operations following Tuesday’s fighting.

There are young SLA recruits, including child soldiers, engaged on the front by the SLA in Ki’linochchi.

Photographs of the dead bodies of the Sri Lankan soldiers, recovered by the LTTE, have lately exposed Colombo’s use of fresh recruits from the south in the intensive battle front in Ki’linochchi.

The latest photo has also revealed that Colombo is victimising Sinhalese children in its offensive front in Vanni.

10 dead bodies of the SLA soldiers were recovered by the Tigers on Tuesday evening. Eight more bodies were recovered later and 10 further recovered on Wednesday morning.

Three identity tags of the SLA soldiers were shown by the Tigers. S195842 (SR.CO.UY, B+ve), S1369682 (B+ve, DCOY, 12 SLSR) and S371790 (A+ve, ACOY, 12 SLSR).

Only a few soldiers were carrying identity tags or documents while being engaged in the offensives in Vanni.

The Tigers said they have seized several weapons in the mopping up operation.

Exchanges of gunfire and minor clashes were still continuing in Malaiyaa’lapuram and Kugchupparanthan areas according to the latest update on Wednesday morning.

The SLA had launched the multi-front push towards Ki’linochchi through Malaya’lapuram, Kugnchupparanthan, Mu’rika’ndi and Pulikku’lam.

The Tigers said the SLA move was repulsed.

The army has also suffered heavy casualties on the Jaffna front at Ki’laali where it launched an offensive push in the early hours of last Tuesday amid heavy rain.

There were more dead bodies lying between the LTTE and SLA defence lines, according to the latest updates from the Ki’laalli front.

Meanwhile, a five-months-old child and a 25-year-old male were killed and 13 other refugees, including three children, wounded last Wednesday when Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) fighter jets bombed refugee settlements in Vaddakkachchi four times, on each sortie bombing the refugees twice.

The SLAF bombardment on civilian targets comes in the wake of high casualties to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in its latest offensive push on the Ki’linochchi and Jaffna fronts.

The second attack was reported 250 metres near the hospital in Vaddakkachchi.

Civilians in Vanni interpreted the indiscriminate attacks, which were repeatedly carried out on displaced people’s settlements, as ‘collective punishment’ by the Sri Lankan forces that have suffered heavy casualties on the battlefront.

Medical sources identified the five-months-old child killed in the indiscriminate bombardment on refugee settlements as Rajithan Ravishankar.

The male killed in the bombardment was identified as Jeyasundraram Selvaratnam.

The first attack took place at 7.30am on Hudson Road in Vaddakkachchi. Two children were wounded in the second attack near the hospital in Vaddakkachchi at 10.00am.

One child, 10-year-old Midhushan Sriranjan had his leg amputated at the hospital and his eight-year-old sister Sinthuja Sriranjan was seriously wounded in her stomach.

Medical sources at Tharmapuram hospital identified the other civilians wounded in the bombardments as Joseph Dharmadevi, 15; Nallathambi Nandakumar, 44; Mahendran Ravishankar, 36; Yogarasa Yogeswaran, 30; Ravishankar Sujanidhi, 28; Raja Mahendran, 59; Sinnaththambi Luxmy, 57; Satkunanathan Nandhini, 21; Balasubramaniam Thangamalar, 55; and Karan, 32.

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has also intensified artillery attacks targeting civilian settlements in Vaddakkachchi, Oddisuddaan and Mu’l’liyava’lai in the south of Mullaiththeevu district in the recent days.

On Monday, artillery shells hit Mullaiththeevu General hospital, causing minor injuries to two patients, according to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr V Shanmugarajah. Many patients and staff in a nearby ward narrowly escaped from the blast that destroyed part of the building and the medical equipment.

• Military representatives from seven countries – India, the United States, Britain, Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh and Maldives – last Wednesday visited the Sri Lankan military command centre coordinating Colombo’s offensive into the Vanni.

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence said the foreign defence attaches/advisors visited the Vanni Security Forces HQ as well as the HQs of the SLA’s 57 and 59 Divisions.

‘The commanders of respective areas briefed the the visitors on the security situation.

‘They were also enlightened on the purpose of the ongoing counter terrorist offensives,’ the MoD said.

‘During the visit, the Defence Attaches met IDPs and surrendered LTTE cadres and observed welfare measures taken by the government.

‘Also, the visitors had the first-hand information how certain Aid Organisations and NGOs had misused vital humanitarian aid sent from foreign countries before the areas were liberated,’ the Sri Lanka MoD said.