Tigers Mount Massive Counter Offensive

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 June 1997, 23:59 GMT]
Reports coming from the town of Omanthai in Northern Wanni region suggest that hundreds of Sri Lankan military personnel were killed or wounded and a number of artillery guns were captured or destroyed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The attack came just a day after, the Sri Lankan military resumed its push against the Tigers in two flanks from Periyamadu and Nedunkerni towards the small village town of Puliyankulam.

In the ferocious counter-attack today at the Sri Lankan mililtary stationed at Periyamadu near the small town of Omanthai, 15 km from Vavuniya, the Tigers are also said to have captured or destroyed at least five artillery gun pieces and a number of mortar bomb launches.Military officials initially said that the 'troops were able to repulse the Tiger attack' but latest reports suggest that the Tigers were able to breach the defenses and cause immense damage to the military base. It is believed that the casualties also include an army colonel.

LTTE Artillery
LTTE cadres with artillery pieces captured in the operation "unceasing waves" at Mullaitivu.
The attack came just two days after Sri Lanka's president Chandrika Kumaranatunge had suggested that the only option left was to neutralize the LTTE militarily. Tigers stalled the military offensive 'Jaya Sikurui' or 'Sure of Victory' on June 10, 97 when they launched a successful counter offensive against the troops stationed at Thandikulam killing more than 150 soldiers and destroying millions of dollars worth of military hardwares.

Earlier reports also said that some of the mililitary officials were very reluctant to go forward with the operation after the Thandikulam attack, as the geographical terrain is more suitable for LTTE attacks, but were disregarded by the Deputy defence minister, Anuraddha Ratwette.

Operation 'Jaya Sikurui' was aimed at opening the Main Supply Route (MSR) to enable the supply of weapons and military personnel to the Jaffna peninsula, supplied now only by sea and air. Successive losses of air crafts by the Sri Lankan government has made this task a very costly affair. It is estimated that more than 450 Sri Lankan soldiers have been killed and another 700 wounded in the Operation 'Jaya Sikurui'. LTTE say that they have lost nearly 160 of their cadres in the operation.

The Tigers intensified their campaign for a Tamil Homeland and for the right of Self-determination in the Island's north and east after 1983 riots. The war has claimed the lives of more than 50,000 Tamils in the past 14 years and has made more than 750,000 Tamils homeless.

 

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