"Hundreds of Tigers" in Muttur - residents

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 August 2006, 19:18 GMT]
Intense fighting is underway in Muttur in Trincomalee district as hundreds of heavily armed LTTE cadres who have taken control of the town centre laid siege to four Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camps on its periphery, residents said Wednesday evening. An effort by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) to land reinforcements on Muttur jetty was routed by LTTE fighters battling SLN troops at one end, reports said. Sri Lanka’s military insisted however that the Army was in control of the town and that the ‘desperate’ LTTE was retreating before its counter-attack.

Continuing a dawn offensive out of the Sampur sector, LTTE fighters this morning swept into Muttur, on the southern shore of Koddiyar bay, from the east, residents said.

Abdul Rauf told the BBC Tamil service Wednesday that hundreds of LTTE cadres who moved into Muttur could be seen in all parts of the town.

Sri Lankan troops had retreated into camps located at four corners of the town, he said.

The Tigers have surrounded the camps and laying siege to them, he added.

The LTTE has urged civilians to seek refuge in safe places.

"We have taken necessary precautionary measures to safeguard civilians," I. Ilanthirayan, LTTE military spokesman told reporters. "We are taking care to avoid civilian casualties. The Muslim people are also our people."

Shells fired by Sri Lankan gunners in Trincomalee naval base are hitting civilian areas, residents say.

Meanwhile, transport to and from Muttur area has been blocked in all directions due to the fighting, another eyewitness told BBC.

As the shelling intensified, thousands of civilians in the predominantly Muslim town fled their residences and sought refuge in mosques, churches and in interior hamlets.

"We were not prepared at all to face a situation like this," a catholic nun at St. Teresa convent told the BBC Tamil service Wednesday evening. The nun and the Methodist pastors at the convent treated several wounded civilians. A nine-year old boy was killed earlier in the day when shrapnel hit him inside the church’s premises.

Abdul Rauf told the BBC that civilians fear the fighting would escalate when SLA forces attempt to rescue or link up with the troops in the besieged camps.

"The LTTE has completely surrounded the camps. Sri Lankan troops cannot come in or break out," he said.

The LTTE has captured a part of the Muttur jetty and its former SLN defenders have withdrawn to the other end, residents said. The LTTE has been able to block supplies and reinforcement from reaching the jetty, they added.

Meanwhile, Major Rajapakse, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Defence spokesman, denying the eyewitness reports told the BBC LTTE cadres were ‘desperately’ withdrawing before an SLA counterattack and have taken refuge in Muttur hospital, banks and government buildings.

"It is a total lie," he said of reports that SLA was not in control of the Muttur town.

He claimed it was the LTTE, not the SLN which had failed to land reinforcements by sea. "We have defeated the sea-born LTTE operation. Two LTTE boats were destroyed," he said.

"3 SLN personnel and 2 SLA soldiers were killed. 14 soldiers were wounded in the fighting at the jetty," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, sources said that SLA forces undertaking a stalled offensive to capture Maavilaru reservoir in Seruvila were not receiving reinforcements or supplies after the A15 supply route had been cut in several places.

Up to seventeen SLA mini-camps had fallen to a multi-pronged LTTE advance into the Muttur sector, the sources said.

Other sources quoted Sri Lankan soldiers in the area as saying that LTTE fighters had reinforced their defences in the sector, deploying mortars and taking up positions in prepared trenches near the reservoir.

When asked by BBC Tamil Service when the Tiger offensive would end, LTTE military spokesman Ilanthirayan, said it was early to reveal strategic dimensions of the LTTE's operations in the Trincomalee district.

 

Latest 15 Reports
18.08.19 23:50   Photo
SL TID detains outspoken Tamil doctor at Pazhai hospital
17.08.19 23:08   Photo
SLA Jaffna commander refuses to release Palaali lands at meeting presided by Wickramasinghe
16.08.19 13:25   Photo
SL Archaeology Department resumes plans to construct controversial ‘chaitya’ at Koonith-theevu
15.08.19 21:39  
Wickramasinghe lacks courage to meet protesting Tamil mothers in North
14.08.19 23:31   Photo
2006 genocidal massacre at Chengchoalai campus marked in Vanni, Jaffna amidst PTA-threats
13.08.19 17:45   Photo
Tamil awareness urged on geopolitics-driven genocidal ‘development’ in Mannaar
12.08.19 20:04   Photo
Percival's 19th century Tamil proverb compilations collated and sorted in new publication
11.08.19 20:32   Photo
PTA-threats against constructing memorial arch for student victims of 2006 aerial massacre
10.08.19 22:49   Photo
Sinhala encroachers storm into 100 acres of lands at Kanneeraavi in Pulmoaddai
09.08.19 14:28  
SL Forest Department retains 8,034 hectares of pasturelands in Paduvaan-karai, Batticaloa
08.08.19 20:05   Photo
Colombo converts 2000 acres of ex-HSZ lands citing India-assisted airport expansion in Jaffna
07.08.19 23:28   Photo
Book on Santhiya becomes narration of Tamil struggle incorporating Marxist ideas in early 80s
06.08.19 23:27   Photo
State discrimination causes death of 1000 cows, milk production drops by 5,500 litres in Batticaloa
05.08.19 23:55   Photo
Pirapaharan’s statements between 1984 and 1993 reproduced in book form in Europe
04.08.19 23:47   Photo
Threatened female activist suffers injuries in suspicious ‘accident’ in Batticaloa
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=19036