Elephant pass victory day 2000

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 April 2003, 21:26 GMT]
Three years ago, on April 22nd, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) hoisted their flag in the heart of what was once one of the most fortified military garrisons in South Asia. The fall of Elephant Pass, described as “impregnable” by a US army officer who visited the garrison months earlier, established the Tigers as the only non-state military force in the world today capable of complex manoeuvre war fighting. Elephant Pass LTTE flag

Infantry formations and crack commando units of the LTTE overran the sprawling Sri Lanka army base complex straddling the gate way to Jaffna on 21 April.

On its southern front facing the LTTE’s military formations, the garrison was fortified heavily with three main lines of defence, in the Elephant Pass lagoon, its beach and on the land by the coast. These were reinforced with miles of concrete and steel structures, minefields, layers of concertina, minefields and beds of deadly spikes.

The Sri Lanka army had carefully studied the loopholes and weaknesses in the defences of its camps in Pooneryn (November 93), Mullaithivu (July 96), Kilinochchi (September 98) which the Tigers had exploited when they overran these garrisons; and with advisory input from US and British militaries planned and built a formidable system of fortifications to hold the strategic gateway to Jaffna.

These defences in turn were protected by a large Sri Lanka army camp in Paranthan, structured as a bulwark on the Vanni mainland directly ahead of Elephant Pass (EPS).

The SLA was long criticised by US and British military officers in Colombo for taking a “static approach” in organising the defences of its larger camps in the north.

They urged Sri Lanka’s military leadership to engage in aggressive patrolling and ambush in a large area ahead of the first flexible, shifting lines of defence.

Their suggestions were not ignored when the fortifications of EPS were reorganised and reinforced.

SLA Soldiers
SLA Soldiers in Jeyasikurui operation

The EPS defence was, above all, designed to make it immune to any form of ‘shock and awe’ strategy by the LTTE.

The depth of the EPS defences was unprecedented in Sri Lanka’s modern military history.

Its rear – the Jaffna peninsula – was under the SLA’s controls barring covert activities by the LTTE there, which were considered militarily negligible. Three army divisions, 51, 52 and 53, were deployed there, well placed to achieve a concentration of forces in any part of the peninsula threatened by the LTTE.

The garrison had a macadamised Main Supply Route (MSR) from the peninsula’s main town and a contingency MSR along Jaffna Lagoon’s southeastern coast considered ‘totally’ safe.

An alternative to water supply for EPS from the fresh water wells of Paranthan was secure in the rear in Iyakkachchi, miles behind the base.

EPS map
Click for a larger map

In addition to these, a firing base comprising a dozen pieces of artillery guns was placed in Palali, relatively ‘deep’ in the EPS garrison’s rear, to thwart attempt by the Tigers to penetrate behind the lines to destroy it.

However, the strongest aspect of the ‘depth’ given to the garrison’s defences was the joint Sri Lanka army, Navy base in Kaddaikaadu-Vettilaikerni coast, which was designed to function as the supply route of the last resort, in the event of land and air communications being cut off.

The Sri Lankan military leadership therefore assumed quite rightly, in accordance with their western textbook knowledge of ‘depth of defence’, that the LTTE was incapable of manoeuvre against ‘defence depth’ of EPS, involving major sea crossings and the moving of large military formations with adequate speed.

Despite reports by Sri Lankan military courts of inquiry, the SLA hierarchy and its British/US ‘defence advisors’ were generally inclined to take the view that the Liberation Tigers had, in the past, succeeded in overwhelming SLA camps by launching intense barrages on forward positions and throwing waves of suicidal troops in frontal assaults to break through into and knock out command and communications centres.

This view was mainly promoted by Sinhala defence analysts and reporters who work closely with, or advise, western military and intelligence personnel in Colombo and abroad.

The SLA and its US, British friends obviously little expected the LTTE to possess the capability to co-ordinate a manoeuvre warfare strategy on the scale required to seriously threaten a garrison as large as EPS.

In the 20th century no anti state armed group had ever succeeded in doing so- not even the Viet Cong.

(The battle for Diem Bien Phu was essentially a siege by more than 15000 troops backed by 200 artillery pieces and 20000 regular commissariat men and women, which lasted for more than two months in a terrain that was singularly advantageous to the Vietnamese).

Their view, no doubt was logical given the facts of the war since 1997.

The Tigers lost key population centres in the Vanni (Puliyankulam, Nedunkerni, Kanakarayankulam, Mankulam), more than 3000 troops (wounded and killed) and valuable military supplies in their defensive battles against the SLA’s ‘Operation Jeya Sikurui’ from May 1997 to November 1999.

Furthermore the LTTE had, in 1995-96, lost Jaffna, the organisation’s largest revenue base in the island’s northeast.

Therefore the SLA came quite logically to the conclusion that the LTTE was incapable of launching and materially sustaining complex manoeuvre warfare to capture the heavily defended parts of southern Jaffna.

In hindsight one may even venture to say that the SLA’s confidence in the EPS garrison’s ‘textbook impregnability’, reaffirmed in no small measure by the praises of British and US army officers and diplomats who visited it, also contributed to one of the worst debacles in south Asia’s modern military history.

LTTE planning EPS attack
LTTE leader with his senior commanders

The writing was on the wall when the Tigers overwhelmed the joint Sri Lanka army, Navy base in Kaddaikaadu – Vettilaikerni in December 1999.

Realising that the EPS garrison’s vital beachhead was gone, the SLA quickly reinforced the Thalaiyadi camp, north of Kaddaikaadu, with the elite US trained 53 Division and built the Vaththiraayan Box.

This move was still based on the assumption that the Tigers were capable only of frontal assaults but not of amphibious manoeuvre.

(The concept of the Vaththiraayan Box, a heavily fortified rectangular bastion from Thalaiyadi to the Puthukkaattu Junction on the A9, was also based on this supposition)

According to Sri Lankan and standard western military wisdom, it was considered impossible for any LTTE penetration team to survive and pose even a minimally destabilising threat to vital SLA positions in the rear crucial to the defence of EPS.

LTTE Balraj sea landing
LTTE Col. Balaraj landing his troops

On 26 March 2000, Col. Balraj, the LTTE’s senior military commander, gave the lie to the assumption that no rear depth of defence of a state’s conventional army can be seriously threatened by anyone except an armed force with strategic air power, when the Sea Tigers fought their way through a sea barrier formed by a large Sri Lanka Navy flotilla in rough seas to land 1200 troops and their supplies at Kudarappu-Maamunai, in the SLA’s rear, beyond the iron clad Vaththiraayan Box.

In the three weeks that followed, the LTTE exploded many assumptions that still inform modern military wisdom by demonstrating it could fight and win set piece battles and hold its ground in the enemy’s well-fortified rear without air support.

Few, however, noticed that it signalled a paradigm shift in the conduct of limited wars in the 21st century.

Elephant Pass overrun – LTTE

[TamilNet, Saturday, 22 April 2000, 10:52 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) base complex at Yakachchi and Elephant Pass was overrun by the Liberation Tigers Saturday following two days of heavy fighting, the LTTE said in a statement from its London offices. Over one thousand SLA troops were killed in the ferocious battle and the remaining troops of the 54 division fled in disarray, the statement said. “The fall of this crucial base at the gate of Jaffna will facilitate the LTTE to gain its strategic goal of liberating Jaffna,” the organisation said.

The full text of the press release follows:

“Yakachchi and Elephant Pass bases forming the giant military complex of the Sri Lankan army on the gateway to Jaffna fell to the combat formations of the Liberation Tigers this afternoon following 48 hours of fierce and bloody fighting. Over one thousand Sri Lankan troops were killed and the rest fled in total disarray.”

“LTTE’s Special Forces and commando units stormed into the Yakachchi military base in the early hours of the morning in a multi-pronged assault and overran the well-fortified camp after several hours of intense fighting. The LTTE commandos, who penetrated central base, destroyed several artillery pieces, tanks, armoured vehicles and ammunition dumps.”

“Overwhelmed by the fury of the Tiger assault the Sri Lankan troops who desperately held the base without supplies and reinforcements for the last 2 days, fled in total confusion.”

“With the fall of Yakachchi and with the collapse of the command structure of its defending troops, the LTTE combat units moved swiftly and stormed into Elephant Pass from different directions. Unable to withstand the LTTE’s multi-pronged assault the Sri Lankan troops ran amok in chaos.”

“The majority of the soldiers of the 54 Division fled through Killali lagoon in the midst of heavy fire from LTTE fighters suffering heavy casualties.”

“LTTE fighters are now in full control of the Yakachchi-Elephant Pass sector and have amassed a huge haul of heavy weapons, ammunition and military vehicles.”

“The conquest of Elephant Pass complex, the largest and well -entrenched military base in the north, signified a major military victory of the Tigers in the current campaign against Sri Lankan troops in Jaffna. The fall of this crucial base at the gate of Jaffna will facilitate the LTTE to gain its strategic goal of liberating Jaffna.”

Fall of Yakachchi “imminent” – LTTE

[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 April 2000, 15:20 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) base at Yakachchi is “on the verge of collapse” following a multi-pronged assault by the Liberation Tigers in which several peripheral camps were overrun, the LTTE said in a statement issued from its London offices Thursday.

Following is the full text of the statement:

“Yakachchi militay complex collapsing: Sri Lankan army faces serious debacle

“Yakachchi military base, the last bastian protecting the Elephant Pass Camp, is on the verge of collapse as the combat formations of the Liberation Tigers mounted a massive, multi-pronged assault and over-ran several mini-camps and defence positions on the periphery of this giant complex today.

“A large number of Sri Lankan troops were killed and injured as the battle of Yakachchi continued ferociously all day. Dark black clouds enveloped the sky above the base complex as huge ammunition dumps exploded after being hit by the heavy artillery and mortar fire from the LTTE positions.

“Yakachchi base complex was isolated and surrounded when the LTTE forces over-ran Massar and Soranpattu areas yesterday and cut off the main supply links with the rest of the peninsula including the rail tracks and gravel lanes. Having pounded the base complex with artillery and mortar bombardment for several hours, LTTE commando units stormed into the peripheral camps this evening. Heavy fighting is still raging in the area.

“The fighting in the Thenamarachchi sector, which began at 1 p.m on the 18th of this month, continued for the third day today. Large tracts of territory between Elephant Pass and Pallai have already fallen to the Tamil Tigers. The fall of Yakachchi camp complex, that seems to be imminent, will seal the fate of Elephant Pass and open the gateway to Jaffna.

Memorial opened to mark Maamunai Landing

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 March 2003, 00:06 GMT]
A memorial erected to mark the Maamunai landing of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fighters which paved the way for the fall of the Elephant Pass garrison, was unveiled by Commander Balaraj Wednesday, the third anniversary of the operation.

Memorial (click on the photo for a larger picture)

LTTE military ciommander Balaraj unveiling the memorial

Military commander Balaraj

Commander of Sea Tigers, Soosai

Military commander LTTE Women’s wing, Vithusha

 Creeping advantage in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 February 2000, 23:59 GMT]
The conventional fighting formations of the Liberation Tigers operate in two strategic parts of the Jaffna peninsula. Although the LTTE has been moving its conventional fighting units into Jaffna since December, the Sri Lankan army has been unable to dislodge them neither from the southeast coast of the peninsula and its hinterland nor from the lagoon coast in Ariyalai east and Thanangilappu.

The former are attempting to move steadily towards Iyakkachchi and the latter pose a direct threat to Jaffna town. Very little is known from civilian or Sri Lankan military sources about what is actually going on the coast of the Jaffna lagoon between Kilaly and Ariyalai east. The SLA has so far tried to play down reports and indications that there is a strategically significant number of conventional combat formations of the Liberation Tigers inside the Jaffna peninsula.

However, a fairly clear picture can be pieced together from statements made by the SLA itself and reports about fighting in the area. The Tigers continue to hold the beach head that they established in the first phase of the offensive into Jaffna in December. The beach head is also a strategic corridor between the peninsula and the Vanni mainland.

The SLA claimed in December that it had launched a two pronged operation from the Elephant Pass base and its positions in Thaalaiyadi, on the peninsula’s southeast coast to dislodge the LTTE from its beach head between Vettrilaikerni and Maruthankerni. Nothing was heard of this operation except that it had been launched.

sla_tank_madhu.jpgThe Sri Lankan army’s elite fighting arm, the 53 division comprising special forces commandos, an air mobile and a mechanized infantry unit etc., was relocated to the Elephant Pass base from its home in Weli Oya when the LTTE turned Operation Unceasing Waves III in the direction of Jaffna. The positioning of the elite 53 division, modeled largely on the US special forces, at Elephant Pass in addition to the 54 division that normally mans the base was patently intended to thwart if not defeat the LTTE’s designs on the southeastern coast of the peninsula and its hinterland. The units of Div. 53, some of which have been trained by US special forces, are deployed by the SLA to break into LTTE strongholds, capture and hold beach heads, spearhead offensives and for conducting deep penetration operations and out flanking maneuvers.

But obviously nothing substantial has been achieved by the special forces since December 11 when the threat to the Elephant Pass became real. There are regular reports from the ministry of defence and sections of the press in Colombo about operations and attacks by SLA troops against the positions of the Liberation Tigers to the east and immediately northeast of Iyakkachchi. It is clear that such actions by the army are limited and have not seriously damaged the defences of the conventional formations of the LTTE operating in this area.

There were reports by the MoD, for example, that government troops had taken on the Tigers in areas near Iyakkachchi such as Sangathaar Vayal. And then there were further reports that the SLA was bombarding or attacking LTTE positions in the same sector. In short, the statements of the Sri Lankan MoD reveal, upon closer scrutiny, that the Tigers are entrenched if not pushing ahead in the general area east and north east of the SLA base at Iyakkachchi.

It is also obvious that the LTTE units operating in this sector and the southeastern coast are conventional fighting formations. This is most probably why the SLA has not been able to make much headway in dislodging the Tigers from strategic points that pose a direct threat to the stability of the Elephant Pass base or even in pushing them back to a safe distance.

anti_air_craft.jpgThe LTTE, meanwhile, have continued to push into the eastern and northeastern environs of the SLA’s base at Iyakkachchi. The latest SLA position to fall in the general area ahead of Elephant Pass is Kurinjathivu. The army acknowledged the situation indirectly by saying that its troops had attacked Tiger defences there.

The fact is that while the army has been unable to regain any of the positions it lost in the hinterland beginning with the camp at Pullaaveli almost for two months now, the LTTE has been able to concentrate its forces in the hinterland of its beach head and launch conventional attacks on the strategic satellite camps of the Elephant Pass base.

Although these did not move with the swiftness of the first phase of Operation Unceasing Waves III in the Vanni, the operations of the Tigers in the hinterland of Jaffna’s southeastern coast have been steady and almost inexorable. It is clear that the SLA is unable to decisively concentrate its forces and fire power against the LTTE’s beach head in the general area of Vettrilaikerni which is the basis of the lifeline of their large fighting formations in the hinterland, closer to Elephant Pass and Iyakkachchi. This is the case despite reports from the north that the SLA is pouring in more troops into sectors that have come under the direct threat of the Tigers.

jaffna_divisionsIf the induction of more troops and the presence of the elite 53 division in Elephant Pass have not been enough to neutralize the LTTE’s conventional offensive capability in the area or destabilize their beach head, then what is wrong? The same question arises in reviewing the situation on the Jaffna lagoon coast.

The SLA called for air strikes on LTTE positions in Ariyalai east on February 3. This was the first instance of the SLA calling for air strikes by Kfir fighter bombers on LTTE targets inside the peninsula since it brought Jaffna under its military control in early 1996.

The military spokesman said that the army had bombarded these positions with heavy artillery. SLA sources were quoted in the Island as saying that there are a ‘couple of hundred’ Tigers operating with mortars, machines guns etc., in Ariyalai east and Thanangilappu despite daily attacks on them by government troops.

An MoD situation report during this period speaks of LTTE bunker lines in this area that had been attacked. So the army is dealing with conventional fighting formations of the Tigers in this region as well. The point again is that the SLA is unable to dislodge the these Tiger units that are dug in dangerously close to the Jaffna town despite the presence of two army divisions, the 51 and 52, overseeing the Jaffna lagoon coast.

The anxiety that seems to characterize the army’s current much publicized drive to recruit 15000 soldiers would indicate that the problem is with numbers -that more troops will help the army to push the Tigers out of Jaffna.

The failure of Operation Jayasikurui to open the highway to Jaffna and the success of the LTTE’s 99 November offensive in the Vanni have shown that the numerical superiority argument so favoured by western defence is fundamentally flawed. The simple point, as usual, is overlooked. That its conventional offensive capability and initiative have almost been neutralized seems to be the central problem the SLA faces in Jaffna now.

Tiger manoeuvres trouble gateway garrison

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 December 1999, 18:53 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army has been expecting a head on attack on the main gateway to Jaffna since reports began emanating from the Vanni that the Liberation Tigers were raising a large conventional force for an unprecedented offensive. The Elephant Pass-Paranthan base complex was therefore heavily fortified and well trained infantry units were deployed there to face the anticipated assault. But the Tigers, however, have entered Jaffna through a strategic side gate to suit the manoeuvre warfare tactics of their Operation Unceasing Waves III.

Elephant Pass was traditionally the main all weather entrance to the peninsula.

However, years before the opening of the macadamized highway (the old Kandy road) through the jungles of the Vanni, travel between the north and the east was mainly along a coastal road, linked at frequent intervals by ferries plying the estuaries of the numerous lagoons which dot the east coast.

This coastal road was much in use, particularly as a short cut to the eastern sector of Mullaithivu, for many years after the opening of the A9 – the new Kandy road until the late seventies. (The old Kandy road was abandoned due to frequent flooding. The SLAÌs Operation Jayasikurui moved along this route in its second phase, taking Karapukkuththi and Karippattamurippu).

achchuveli_attack.jpgThe coastal road branches off southeast from the A9 at Iyakkachchi junction towards Kaddaikadu on the coast. Here it turns south along a short, narrow strip of land between the estuary of the Elephant Pass lagoon and the Bay of Bengal that links the peninsula with the mainland. This is Chundikulam.

The coastal villages of Vettrilaikerni, Aliyawlai, Kodukkilai, Uduththurai, Vembadi, Vaththiraayan, Maruthankerni, Thalaiyadi, Sembiyanpattu, Mamunai, Kudarappu, Nagar Kovil, Amban, Kudaththani, Manatkaadu and Vallipuram lie between Pt.Pedro and Kaddaikadu-Chundikulam (given here in a south to north order).

The Liberation Tigers have entered Jaffna by taking the coast between Chundikulam and Maruthankerni.

The strategic side gate is now in their hands. (The SLA acknowledges this typically by saying that it made a tactical withdrawal from Kaddaikadu and Vetrilaikerni.) It is a convenient opening which allows the Liberation Tigers to pour their conventional warfare resources directly into Jaffna.

SLA advanceThe Tigers are obviously exploiting this tactical advantage rather than trying to achieve a massive concentration of forces ahead of Elephant Pass as they did when they overran Kilinochchi in September 1998.

According to residents in the area, the LTTE’s fighting units have further advanced north on the coast from their positions in Kaddaikadu by attacking the main SLA camp in Maruthankerni.

If the Tigers are able to defend and hold their territorial gains on Jaffna’s southeast coast, it is bound to give them a clear advantage in the manoeuvre warfare tactics of Operation Unceasing Waves III.

They can either advance further north on the coast towards Pt.Pedro or turn west from their current positions to cut off the Kandy Road between Palai and Elephant Pass.

This can severely threaten the SLA’s hold on the Thenmaradchi division of the peninsula and isolate the Paranthan-Elephant Pass base complex.

The SLA’s calamities have been further compounded by the fact that all parts of the Elephant Pass base complex have now come within range of the LTTE’s artillery units, including those firing the ubiquitous 81 mm medium mortars.

Meanwhile, the SLA finds itself hard pressed to concentrate its Jaffna forces to counter attack the LTTE’s beach head on the peninsula’s southeastern coast and the fighting formations that are attempting to break through key SLA positions such as Thalaiyadi and Maruthankerni junction.

This is so because the Tigers appear to have infiltrated into Thanangkilappu which is less than eight kilometers southeast of Jaffna town by the lagoon.

The SLA spokesman’s statement that four soldiers were killed and seventy were wounded in confrontations here confirms the situation. Heavy shelling and firing was heard in the area last night as well.

Is Thanangkilappu going to be another beach head intended for an operation directed at Jaffna town? Will the Tigers bring in more troops to build pressure on the main road to Chavakachcheri with an eye to crippling SLA’s logistics in this part of the penininsula?

The SLA is in a quandary.

This is the first time that it is facing the conventional strength of the Liberation Tigers on multiple fronts simultaneously.

The SLA’s high command is also apparently concerned that the Iyakkachchi junction and its environs now stand directly exposed to a concentrated LTTE assault.

The main sources of fresh water supply on which more than ten thousand government troops at Elephant Pass depend are located here and in Paranthan. The water sources in most parts of the base are brackish.

The LTTE’s attempt to lay siege to the Elephant Pass-Paranthan garrison, one of the largest military bases of the Sri Lankan Army, can said to be complete if Iyakkachchi too were to be overrun.

The Tigers say that they have destroyed the Pullaveli SLA camp in the interior which is not far from Iyakkachchi and are advancing further west towards that junction.

Although the SLA denies this, it is very obvious from the situation report presented yesterday (Dec.15) by the SLA spokesman that large scale engagements are taking place in the general area northeast of Elephant Pass.

Seven soldiers were killed and 142 were wounded of whom 77 sustained serious injuries in confrontations in Vettrilaikerni, Kaddaikadu and Pullaveli according to him. These surely are not the consequence of negligible skirmishes with small bands of enemy troops.

Even the SLA spokesman’s figures unequivocally indicate that large fighting formations of the LTTE with logistics flowing from the rear are engaged in offensive operations on the coast and the interior, close to the Elephant Pass base.

The objective of the LTTE’s manoeuvre tactics are therefore patent. They cut off the ultimate life line to the base in the first phase of the offensive by taking Vettrilaikerni and Kaddaikadu.

This is considered the ultimate life line of the base complex because the eastern sea board offers the only logistically viable means of supplying the garrison on the gateway in the event of the trunk road to Jaffna and the Kilaly coast being effectively cut off by the Tigers.

The needs of the base cannot be met with the limited air lift capabilities of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

Though not prepared to under estimate the Liberation Tigers, the Sri Lanka Army commanders feel that the organisation may have sustained heavy losses and is not in a position to over stretch itself to directly take on this large base.

The Tigers laid siege to the Elephant Pass camp in 1991. It was held by a battalion and supporting elements of artillery and armour at the time. The LTTE lost more than 500 fighters trying to overrun the garrison.

The SLA saved the camp by securing a beach head at Kaddaikadu-Vettrilaikerni and fighting its way to Elephant Pass in the operation called Balavegaya.

Today the base is held by a full division and supporting units. It is not surprising therefore that the Tigers secured the same beach head for launching Operation Unceasing Waves III to isolate the Elephant Pass base and more importantly, to gain a strategic foot hold inside Jaffna.

When the Tigers left the peninsula in early 1996, the Sri Lankan government asserted that it was the beginning of their end.

Today, after four years, they have returned, their military skills enhanced and their arsenal augmented immensely in ways they may not have imagined had they remained in Jaffna.

Marksmen compete in Elephant Pass celebrations

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 April 2005, 00:10 GMT]
100 meter sharpshooting competitions marked the fourth day of events celebrating the fifth anniversary of the fall of Sri Lanka Army’s (SLA’s) Elephant Pass garrison with Liberation Tigers’ Northern Region Commander, Col Theepan, supervising the day’s events at the LTTE Military Academy, sources from Vanni said. The fall of Elephant Pass in 22 April 2000 established the Tigers as the world’s only non-state military force capable of complex manoeuvre war fighting.

Sharpshooting competition

Sharpshooting competition
Sharpshooting competition

Hundreds of shooters including women cadres from Malathy brigade and Sothya brigade, fighters from Kutti Sri Mortar brigade and Charles Anthony Special brigade, instructors from military academy and LTTE officials participated in the competition.

“A sniper’s job is to deliver discriminatory, accurate rifle fire against targets which cannot be engaged successfully by the regular rifleman because of range, size, location, fleeting nature, or visibility. Our cadres chosen for such training develop basic infantry skills to a high degree of perfection. The competition highlights the importance of snipers and allows our cadres to show their marksmanship,” Col Theepan said.

The celebrations are expected to conclude at the end of Thursday’s cultural events.

Sharpshooting competition Sharpshooting competition

Elephant Pass Fall fifth anniversary celebrated

[TamilNet, Saturday, 23 April 2005, 13:17 GMT]
Fifth anniversary of the fall of Sri Lanka Army’s (SLA’s) Elephant Pass garrison is being celebrated from the 22nd to 25th April in Vanni with long distance running competitions among different military divisions of Liberation Tigers followed by a day of cultural events, sources from Vanni said. The fall of Elephant Pass, described as “impregnable” by a US army officer who visited the garrison months before the fall, established the Tigers as the only non-state military force in the world today capable of complex manoeuvre war fighting.

Elephant Pass celebrations

On Friday 10 kilometer race was held for women cadres of Malathy Brigade, Sothiya Brigade and Kutti Sri Mortar Brigade from Puthukadu junction to Muhamalai LTTE checkpoint. Northern Region military commander of LTTE, Col. Theepan, supervised the events. Commander of LTTE’s Women’s Wing, Col.Vithusha, started the 10K run, sources said.

Saturday cultural events were held in the Col.Raayu memorial hall at the Military Academy of Liberation Tigers and the events included Poetry forum where several women, men LTTE brigades took part.

10K run for men are scheduled to be held Sunday, organizers said.

Elephant Pass celebrations Elephant Pass celebrations
Elephant Pass celebrations Elephant Pass celebrations

Jaffna-Kilinochchi Map

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