Sunday, September 16, 2007

Information Leak Before Silavathurai Operation?

A number of sources have claimed that LTTE had received intelligence that a military operation was in the offing in Silavathurai and had vacated the area long before the Army moved in. These sources claimed it was a cake-walk for the Army because of LTTE withdrawal of its troops and heavy guns. DefenceWire can confirm that the probability of an information leak in the Army prior to the operation was extremely low.

Military Intelligence believes that it was only a matter of time before LTTE withdrew its units from Silavathurai to strengthen its Northern FDLs. The Army, had however wanted to take the area before planning any future operations ahead of the Northern FDLs. LTTE did not maintain a large presence in the area nor did they operate any heavy guns except for a few mortar tubes and heavy machine-guns. The Army killed around 12 cadres in the fight. They discovered that the 12.7mm and 14.2mm heavy machine-guns and the mortar tubes had been removed by fleeing Tigers. The exact number of LTTE cadres in the area prior to the offensive was also highly exaggerated, with some sources claiming as many as 200 LTTE were positioned there.

It was evident that the LTTE had made plans to move-out from the area fearing possible and not probable Army attack. They had also vacated their attack-boats in small batches. The Army's operation was merely to assist the Sri Lanka Navy, who faced some threat from Sea Tigers operating from a small base in Silavathurai. This has enabled the Navy to patrol the Northwestern and Western coasts with relative ease. The Army too was benefited by not having to fear about guarding its back in Mannar.

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