Vidattaltivu Liberated; terrorists suffer fatal blow [Updated]
Gallant soldiers of Army Task Force 1 and Commando
Brigade operating on the Mannar warfront liberated the strategically important Vidattaltivu
town this morning (July 16). Vidattaltivu is the largest town situated on the North- Western coast of the
Island, 20 km North of Mannar and used by the terrorists as their main
Sea-Tiger base cum logistic hub in the West.
Soldiers of Task Force 1 on Tuesday evening (July15)
commenced their forward march from their initial
locations at the Southern limits of Vidattaltivu town, i.e. few hundreds meters short of Vidattaltivu terror defence,
located 2 Km South of the town. These troops were able to
capture a 2.5km stretch of the LTTE Forward Defence by late in the
Unable to withstand the military onslaught, terrorists
started to flee further northwards towards and later suffered heavy damages
during their withdrawal as the
elite commandos flanking in the Northeastern boundaries of Vidattaltivu laid an ambush on them. The commandos
confronted with a group of approximately 60 LTTE cadres around 1.45 p.m. As
the terrorist started to withdraw towards Iluppaikkadaval, North of
Vidattaltivu; commandos called in indirect fire. As a result, heavy
artillery and multi barrel rocket fire were directed at the terrorists.
Also, Air Force launched close air support missions to ground
troops using MI 24 helicopter gunships. Ground troops claimed over 30 terrorists were killed due to artillery
and air assault while the rest turned tail.
Meanwhile, troops approaching from the East of
Vidattaltivu cut off the Mannar - Poonaryn road at a location 2 Km
North of Vidattaltivu early this morning, besetting the terror
stronghold from the South, East and the North. Later, troops marched into the town and
declared the area liberated for the first time since 1987.
Sources at the battlefield said that the soldiers
approached from South had to cross a strong LTTE defence built on a 7 feet tall
earth bump with a deep ditch in front of it, before they entered into
the Vidattaltivu town limits. This defence cut across the Mannar- Poonaryn
road, 2 Km South of Vidattaltivu and ran 10 Km from the coast to Paramarayankulama, situated 8 Km South East of Vidattaltivu. At that,
the defence was consisted with fortified bunkers made out of thick
wooden logs at every 150m distances.
Following the successful capture of the Mannar 'Rice
Bowl' troops within 24 hours commenced their march towards Vidattaltivu.
Troops halted 200m South of the above-mentioned strong LTTE defence and
waited until the new front opened up by the 582 brigade of the Task
the commandos to make their approach from the East. This new front
opened up 10 Km East of Vidattaltivu managed to reach Mannar - Poonaryn
road North of Vidattaltivu within one week.
While conquering the strong defence line of the LTTE
in the South, troops braved dense mine fields removing hundreds of
anti personnel mines, improvised explosive devices and booby traps.
During last 10 days, troops expecting to bring up on maximum attrition
rate over the terrorists attacked and destroy a large number of bunkers
situated along the LTTE defence. According to the ground and radio
monitoring sources at least 100 LTTE cadres were killed and equal number
or more were wounded during these confrontations. Also, commandos alone
found 28 bodies of slain LTTE cadres during this period.
Commander of Task Force 1, Brigadier Shavendra Silva
speaking to Defence.lk said that this was the first time that
the Army dominated Vidattaltivu area after 21 years. Not even during major military
operations such as Ranagosa and Jayasikuru, army had been able cross
the strong LTTE defence that runs over 10 km East from the Southern
coast of Vidattaltivu, he added.
Meanwhile, Defence observers are in the view that the loss
of Vidattaltivu would cast a fatal blow on LTTE as it has lost the most
important Sea-Tiger base in the present context. According to them the
terrorists has no other option than to shift their Sea-Tiger assets to a
makeshift camp further Northwards with the loss of its well-established
sea borne operational base.
Following its loss of 10 arms carrying ships to Sri
Lanka Navy, and the loss of land domination over Eastern coast to army
and also due to the strong sea blockade maintained by navy in the
North-Eastern waters , the only available sea supply route for the LTTE
has been identified as the one across the Gulf of Mannar. Presence of
large amount of Indian fishing vessels and less maneuverability
available for the navy ships in the coastal waters over the shallow
continental shelf have made it virtually impossible to ensure complete
denial of enemy use of sea lines of communication. Therefore, the loss
of Vidattaltivu, the best geographical location in the North-West coast
for Sea Tiger operations will be a huge loss to the terrorists than it is
really depicted in terms of square kilometers, defence observers added.
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