Sea Tiger strategies concern SLA

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 April 2000, 12:52 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army has banned fishing in the Jaffna lagoon for three days amidst apprehensions about further amphibious operations by the Sea Tigers aimed at cutting off the army's current supply route to Elephant Pass. Fishermen who went to the Gurunagar jetty in Jaffna town to put out to sea this morning were turned back by the army.

The ban will ruin the nets that the fishermen in the coastal suburbs of Jaffna town have put out in the lagoon, a spokesman for the a local fishermen's society said.

Fishing has also been banned in the Vadamaradchi since yesterday. The SLA and the Sri Lanka Navy believe that the Sea Tigers gather information from the fishermen to plan their movements in the Jaffna seas and lagoon. Spokesmen for the numerous fihsermen's societies deny this.

SLN sources in Jaffna said that the main thrust of the LTTE's latest offensive was from the eastern seaboard and that the Sea Tigers had played a key role in landing the LTTE's troops and weapons close to the SLA garrisons.

They said that more operations by the Sea Tigers in the Vadamaradchi sector and the Jaffna lagoon are expected and that prohibiting fishing under these circumstances is unavoidable.

The Liberation Tigers currently hold a beach head extending to about six kilometers on either side of the road from the Kerathivu jetty, south of Chavakachcheri, to the Thanangkilappu junction. (This road turns north from this junction to Chavakachcheri town and west to the village of Thanangkilappu)

The army has been unable to dislodge the Tigers from this sector despite more than three months of concerted air and artillery attacks. The LTTE troops operating in this beach head run vehicles too.

The SLA claims that neutralising the power of the Sea Tigers in the Jaffna lagoon is important at this juncture to prevent the LTTE from launching any major thrust into the peninsula from the Kerathivu - Thanangkilappu beach head as this would bring them close to the Jaffna's town's entrance.

Sri Lankan army planners are also apprehensive that the Sea Tigers may embark on a major amphibious offensive on Kilaly or a tactically suitable point on the Thenmaradchi division's coast with the Jaffna lagoon in the next phase of Operation Unceasing Waves III.

The success of such an offensive could cut off the current supply route to the Elephant Pass base which takes a long, difficult detour in the Pallai interior and along the coast, from Pulopalai through the coastal hamlet of Ketpali, Allipalai and then to Aasaipillai junction on the A9 near Mirusuvil.

This could spell a major logistical cirisis for Jaffna's gateway garrison the SLA feels.

 

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