Troops from the 57 Division that have surrounded Madhu via Periyapandivirichchan east and west are experiencing a severe harassing fire from Tigers using the cover of the 400 year-old Our Lady of Madhu Church.
Despite a strong warning by Maj. Gen Jagath Jayasuriya several weeks ago, the Mannar Bishop has not been able to prevent this blatant violation of the rules of engagement. Gen Jayasuriya has given strict instructios not to engage the Tigers taking cover behind the Church premises for the time being.
Civilians have been held hostage at Periyapandivirichchian until troops captured the village. LTTE is also holding civilians in Karampeikulam near the Madhu Sanctuary as a human shied.
Troops of the 57 Division are moving north from their original positions south of the Madhu Road Junction (not Madhu) on the A-14 (Mannar-Anuradhapura MSR). Advancing north from Parayanalankulam Junction in the Vavuniya District (A-30 from Vavuniya and A14 from Anuradhapura meet at Parayanalankulam Junction) into Madhu Junction through the jungles of the Madhu sanctuary, the troops were bogged down by a large 2km trench, which was finally overrun this week.
In Mannar, Avenues of Approaches (AAs) from the 58 Division advancing northeast from Thirukethiswaram Kovil is now ahead of Pallaikuli. Another unit captured Ilanthivan, north east of Pallaikuli. Fighting still continues north of Manthai west area. The same Division advancing northeast along A32 is now at Veppankulam. Parappakandal and Sirikkulam, situated off the A14 MSR and west of the Giant’s Tank is also in Army hands.
In the coming days, heavy fighting is expected in Puliyankulam North and Manthai North. The Special Forces are deployed in these areas to assist regular infantry. This week, a Special Forces team launched an attack at Vannakulam in Mannar killing four LTTE field commanders.