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Last modified on: 12/30/2010 11:39:56 PM Troops manoeuvring to open main road access to NFZ; hostage rescue mission continues

Troops manoeuvring to open main road access to NFZ; hostage rescue mission continues

Sri Lankan soldiers of 53 and 58 Divisions were just 700m to 800m short of the bridge on the A-35 road (Paranthan - Mullaittivu) at Vellaimullaivaikkal last night (Apr 18), defence sources said.

According to the sources, troops after a daylong march along the A-35 axis readjusted their forward boundary that extend across A-35 to the northern bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon. The manoeuvre is aimed at opening up a main road access to the No Fire Zone [NFZ], where nearly 70,000 civilians have been held hostage by LTTE terrorists, said the sources.

Battlefield reports indicated that troops have encountered stiff resistance from the terrorists. Intercepted LTTE radio transmissions revealed that 17 LTTE cadres were killed and 22 others suffered injuries in the day's fighting. Also, troops found four T-56 rifles, and one radio communication set during subsequent search.

The NFZ is a 12 km long narrow stretch of land on the northeastern coastline of the island containing about 17 square kilometres. The government demarcated the area as a safety zone for the civilians forcibly held by LTTE several months back. However, the area has now become the main headquarters of the terrorists, with all their main guns have been positioned and their leaders cowering among civilians. The wide western frontage of the area is separated from the mainland by an extension of Nanathikadal lagoon, leaving only a limited space for the civilians to leave the area. The civilians have become the slaves of the terror outfit that constantly exploit them at gunpoint. The children have become the cannon fodder for the outfit while the rest have been held as a human shield.

Sri Lankan troops are now engaged in an operation to rescue these hostages from the LTTE grip, in which they are making various manoeuvres to open up new safe routes for the civilians to seek refuge with them.

Meanwhile, troops engaged in clearing operations in the recently liberated areas in Wanni collected hauls of arms and other warlike materials. Troops of 58 Division alone collected 30 T-56 rifles, one multi purpose machine gun, a stock 490,000 small machine gun ammo, 750 ammo for T-56 rifles, 48 hand grenades, three suicide jackets, 23 RPG bombs, 10 artillery bombs (130 mm), two claymore mines, 14 mortar bombs (60 mm), three radio communication sets, 11 improvised bombs. Among the other items found included body armours, pouches and weapon accessories.

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