Heavy casualties in Vanni Battle
[TamilNet, Friday, 05 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
At least two hundred Sri Lankan army soldiers were confirmed killed and 294 wounded when the Liberation Tigers surrounded and attacked a large SLA force which had tried to advance into LTTE held territory yesterday, as part of the seven month long Operation Jayasikurui.
Fierce fighting between the Jayasikurui troops and the Tigers erupted around 6.45 a.m. in the morning yesterday and went on till the late hours of the afternoon said sources close to the Sri Lankan army in Vavuniya.
The SLA claims that the Liberation Tigers counter attacked one of their elite commando units when it was returning after destroying a large LTTE base north of Kanakarayan Kulam.
SLA sources said that the commandos had destroyed two 120 mm heavy mortars that had been found in the LTTE's base.
The army is yet to officially confirm the destruction of the mortars.
SLA says that the LTTE's devastating counterattack on its troops occured at a place called Mannakulam, north of Kanakarayan Kulam.
According to SLA figures, 50 soldiers are missing and 294 wounded soldiers have been admitted to the Anuradhapura hospital.
The SLA recovered forty bodies of its soldiers from the scene of the battle yesterday. These were brought to the Vavuniya and Anuradhapura hospitals last night.
An officer identified as Major. Srimanne was among the SLA's dead.
The 111 SLA bodies which the LTTE handed over to the ICRC at Mallaavi this morning at 10 a.m. will be brought to Vavuniya and be handed over to the army later this evening.
05.12.97 New SLA thrust repulsed - radio
20.11.97 Puliyankulam, Mankulam not captured: SLA
19.11.97 LTTE stems 'Jaya Sikirui'
16.11.97 Heavy shelling amid claims of resumed offensive
15.11.97 Fierce fighting in Vanni