Heavy shelling amid claims of resumed offensive

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The SLA announced officially this evening that it has begun the third phase of Operation Jaya Sikirui in the Vanni. However, the LTTE said there had been no advance.

The Voice of Tigers (VOT) said in its nightly news bulletin which was broadcast at 9.00 p.m. local time, today, that "the Sri Lankan Army in Kara Patta Murippu and Killinochchi has been heavily shelling [the surrounding area] from early morning today".

"Although it has been announced that operation Jaya Sikurui has commenced, the Sri Lanka Army is only engaged in shelling. It has not been reported that SLA had advanced or there has been fighting" said VOT.

The VOT also said that 5 LTTE fighters were killed near Kanakarayan Kulam yesterday.

"There are no indication of any major activity in Vavuniya town, except for some shelling from the Joseph Camp of the Sri Lankan Army around 9.50 p.m.", said sources in Vavuniya. Vavuniya is an important rear echelon SLA complex, and is a major staging area for Operation Jaya Sikirui.

"However it is very difficult to find out from within Vavuniya town, if the 53. Division of the SLA is carrying out the operation", said sources in Vavuniya. The 53. Division is occupying positions near Nedunkerni.

map_ottisuddan_1.gifUnconfirmed reports said that there was heavy fighting north east of Mankulum and that Sri Lankan troops had captured the centre of Puliyankulam. Five Sri Lankan soldiers had been killed and thirty wounded according to the reports.

It is not possible to independently verify information as to events in the area as the Sri Lankan government has banned the press from entering the war-zones.

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