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Troops on Kokavil outskirts recall memories

Army Troops, now on the outskirts of much-spoken Kokavil, to the south of Kilinochchi bordering the parallel A-9 Highway and old Murikandi-Kokavil Railway Station recall cherished memories of their fallen War Heroes in the 1990s with honour, admiration and valour and LTTE massacre on 'Yal Devi 'passenger train.

Photos in this story taken on Monday (29) show vandalized ruins of the Murikandi-Kokavil railway station platform with all its roof-sheets, iron rail tracks, and almost everything, belonging to the railway station after those items were either damaged or removed and finally taken away by jungle- based Tiger terrorists, to be used for their criminal acts.

The packed south-bound Yal Devi train on its run from northern Jaffna-Kankesanturai, on that fateful day, 19th January 1985 was blasted by Tiger terrorists, triggering a landmine when it was nearing Murikandi-Kokavil stop. The train with thirteen carriages had service and Police personnel as well as hundreds of civilians aboard who were proceeding to Colombo on duty requirements and business.

Twenty-eight Army soldiers and eleven civilians lost their precious lives, and a total of twenty soldiers, five civilians and three Police Constables, suffered injuries due to this senseless terrorist act. Nevertheless, the train driver, thanks to his presence of mind and bravery pushed all the injured into the carriage, connecting the diesel locomotive and speedily continued its journey, leaving all other twelve compartments behind, since the train remained disconnected as a result of the impact of the blast. However, the driver ensured all casualties were delivered to the nearest hospital at the next railway station, just a couple of minutes later. He still lives to relate his saga.

Likewise, intensification of Tiger terrorism in the early part of 1990 saw Officer Commanding at Kokavil Army camp, Lieutenant S.U Aladeniya, was posthumously awarded the highest valour in combat, the gallantry medal "Parama Weera Vibhushana" (PWV) for his fight against Tiger terrorists valiantly without reinforcements until his camp was destroyed by the terrorists on 11th July 1990. He received orders to abandon the camp, but he refused to do so as the majority of his troops were injured by then and completely immobile. He was the first to be nominated for this prestigious PWV upon his supreme sacrifice.

In fact, his camp was assigned the task of providing security to the Rupavahini relaying tower in Kokavil (see photo). This brave officer's troops fought continuously for fourteen days, despite running short of food, water and ammunition. The fall of Kokavil in 1990 after fighting the Tigers to the last bullet gave terrorists a stimulus and a propaganda mileage.

Almost two decades after the sacrifices made by those brave soldiers of the Army, valiant troops of the 57 Division are now consolidating control over the A-9 road which is within kissing distance of the much-talked Kokavil centre.

  Murikandi-Kokavil Railway Station Platform   Rupavahini Transmission Tower - Kokavil

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