Batticaloa, Human Security, Peace and Conflict, Trincomalee

Closer Look At Operation To Capture Thoppigala

To recap what has happened recently, 15 LTTE bodies were recovered on 22nd June in Toppigala while the government forces and LTTE both launched heavy artillery and mortar strikes at the front line. Kumburumoolai, Kinnayadi, Meeravodai in Valaichchenai and Chenkaladi army camp were also targeted by LTTE mortar strikes, according to military officials and residents in the area.

At the same time the TMVP landed cadres through the Pulipanchchakal Bridge in to the LTTE controlled area. There were confrontations between LTTE and TMVP. A TMVP cadre was injured and the LTTE withdrew from Pulipanchchakal, Ponduwalchenai, and Saaraweli and part of Vahanery south, according to the TMVP.

Government forces also landed through the Pullumalai area toward Toppigala LTTE base. Over 65% of LTTE-controlled areas have been captured by the government forces in Batticaloa district up to today, in my opinion, despite military statements that 95% has been captured. The military is now drawing close to Toppigala.

However over running Toppigala will not be end of the Batticaloa operation.

Beyond this, Taravai LTTE base will be a very difficult challenge for the government. Around 520 LTTE carders have been standing in the front line of Taravai and two 6 barrel multi guns are based there. The senior military leaders Nagesh, Ramesh and Banu are also there.

When we compare with Taravai, only 100 to 150 carders are in the Toppigala base and fighting with help of mortars. The environment such as jungle, marsh, and thick grass is delaying the government forces movement. Military wise the LTTE has changed their strategies and military bases after Karuna group left. Therefore the TMVP is also fearing to land inside LTTE controlled area carelessly.

On the other hand the LTTE is surrounded by the government forces and TMVP and major supply ways are cut off. Whether they are willing or not, they have to fight against the forces or surrender. Around 25 LTTE carders surrendered within last two weeks. Last night a carder surrendered at Chenkaladi army camp. They have been commanded to do or die.

The bachelor carders in the LTTE don’t wish to surrender, but those who are married like to surrender to government forces. The LTTE have put a buffer line through the Black tigers to avoid the surrender of their carders. An LTTE source said about 22 prisoners are in the custody of LTTE in Toppigala. They maybe being used as human shields.

LTTE is looking to flee the east. Root cause is that their main supply ways are blocked and the cadres are psychologically affected. We could observe through their communication in 400-500 UHF channel. 19th of June they try to find a way to withdraw through Trikunamodu in Welikantha. That was a failure and they lost four cadres. Yesterday their rekky team crossed paper town in Valaichchenai. They may try to withdraw through Valaichchenai, Kalkudha to Jaffna by sea