Firefight at Muhamaalai

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 April 2000, 19:17 GMT]
A firefight erupted between the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers and the Liberation Tigers in Muhamaalai at about 10 p.m. last night and continued until 5 a.m. this morning said residents in Eluthumadduval, a village by the strategic A9 highway southeast of Jaffna.

Sri Lankan security forces headquarters in Jaffna denied this and said that there have been no confrontations on the A9 since April 10.

Eluthumadduval residents also said that Sri Lanka Air Force jets bombed Chempiyanpattu sector on Jaffna's southeastern coast at day break today.

Chempiyanpattu is controlled by the Liberation Tigers.

The LTTE took control of Muhamaalai and four kilometres of the A9 highway between Muhamaalai and Pallai on March 28. The SLA said its troops recaptured the road on April 10. However, the Voice of Tigers radio, said the fighting units of the Liberation Tigers remained in control of a major section of the A9 highway in the Thenmaradchi Division despite determined efforts by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to recapture the road.

The SLA continues to depend on the alternate route to the Elephant Pass garrison. The army acknowledged that the A9 is still not safe enough to function as garrison's Main Supply Route.

The A9 highway is within the range of LTTE's artillery, mortar and Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher units located in the hinterland east of A9 which is under LTTE control, according to SLA.


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