SLA advance thwarted says radio
[TamilNet, Sunday, 27 June 1999, 14:35 GMT]
The commercial radio service of the Liberation Tigers, Thamileela Vaanoli, said in its news broadcast this evening that 200 SLA soldiers were wounded and more than 100 killed in the heavy fighting yesterday northeast of Mannar. The radio said that the LTTE had stopped a massed advance by the SLA to take the Pallamadu junction and that twenty two Tigers were killed in the fighting. The Fighting continued in the area today, according to the Thamileela Vaanoli.
Meanwhile the SLA announced in Colombo this afternoon that 16 soldiers were killed and 30 wounded in yesterday's fighting. It said that 41 Tigers were killed.
The army said that it would hand over the bodies of 36 Tigers killed in yesterday's fighting to the ICRC at Parayanaalankulam this evening. But sources in Vavuniya said that there appeared to be fewer bodies of Tigers to be handed over than claimed by the army.
According to the SLA, 6 soldiers were wounded and 11 Tigers were killed in the fighting today.
Local journalists were taken to Parayanaalankulam this afternoon to be shown the bodies of the Tigers and weapons the army claims it captured from them yesterday, including a 106 mm Recoiless Rifle, a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft gun, a .50 Browning Heavy Machine Gun, 40 mm grenade launcher etc., However, the army had shown only an 81 mm mortar, an LMG and some T-56 assault rifles. Sources said that the bodies of the Tigers did not arrive at Parayanaalankulam until later this evening, hours after the journalists had left.
A senior SLA officer there told the correspondents that Sri Lanka Airforce planes had taken on heavily fortified positions of the LTTE during the battle yesterday. He said that there was very heavy fighting in the area.