LTTE refutes STF advance claim

[TamilNet, Sunday, 22 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Police sources in Amparai said today that the STF has established a camp in the kanjikudichcha Aaru area. They said a large number of STF commandos have been pulled out of some camps in the area for the purpose.

The Voice of Tigers said in their night broadcast last night that the Liberation Tigers had stopped an attempt by the Special Task Force (STF) to advance from Kanjikudichcha Aaru, inflicting casualties on the elite STF commandos on March 19.

The radio said that the STF had not been able to push beyond 300 meters from kanjikudichcha Aaru, though backed by Mi24 helicopter gunships.

The radio said that three Tigers were killed in the fighting.

They are, according to the VOT, Velalahan (Yogaraja Rajanikanth, Batticaloa), Valarmathiyan (Seenivaasakam Visvaakaram, Ampara) and 2nd Lt. Semmathan or Sahayan (kandasamy Indrakumar, Ampara).

Kanjikudichcha Aaru was a settlement by the river of the same name in the southeastern sector of the Ampara district. A large irrigation project called the Kanjikudichcha Aaru scheme was proposed in the seventies but like many such projects in the north and east was not developed to its full potential due to government negligence.

A vast tract of jungle begins from the edge of the kanjikudichcha Aaru settlement which is now abandoned and spreads west across Sinhala border areas such as Bakmitiyawa. These forests have come to be known as the Kanjikudichcha Aaru jungles in recent times due to the lack of knowledge, among SLA planners and the local press, of the region's geography.

The STF operation, according to reports from the area, could not proceed beyond the Kanjikudichcha Aaru settlement into the jungles to the west where the Liberation Tigers are said to maintain a key logistical base.

 

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