The news story titled: "LTTE claims Yakachi army bases fall"
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one of our reporters in Sri Lanka. However, given its importance,
we have decided to retract this story until further
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Government appoints Rohan Daluwatte as Chief-of-staff of defence.
President Chandrika Kumaratunge appointed former army commander, General
Rohan Daluwatte as the Chief-of-Staff of defence as heavy fighting between
the government troops and Tiger rebels continued in the northern province.
Daluwatte appointment follows, the appointment of Major General Janaka
Perera as Overall Commander of north and east province. Military officials
said Daluwatte would be in charge of anti-terrorist operations throughout
The appointments came hard on the heels after heavy fighting at the gates
of Elephant Pass military complex escalated. The government is tight lipped
on the on going fighting since it would hurt ruling PA government's chances
of being re-elected at the general elections which is expected to be held
in September this year.
The operational headquarters in Colombo said that government had deployed
ground attack aircrafts to attack the LTTE positions as heavy hand-to-hand
fighting continued. It claimed that four soldiers including two officers
were killed in action.
It further claimed that at least 30 rebels were killed and believed large
number were wounded. The local media continued to keep a "low profile" since
carrying articles on war related matters is a punishable offence under the
country's emergency regulations.
Norwegian delegation to meet Prabhakaran
On an invitation by the LTTE, a Norwegian government delegation is expected
to arrive in Sri Lanka to hold talks with the leader of the LTTE within the
next few days, a London based Tamil newspaper said.
The newspaper, The Tamil Guardian quoting, LTTE's international spokesman
Anton Balasingham said that Norwegian delegates will pay a courtesy call on
Prabhakaran to bring the on going war to an end.
"The LTTE leadership has extended the invitation and the Norwegian
government has agreed to send a good will team to Wanni", the newspaper
quoting Balasingham said.
The Cost of war
Sri Lanka has incurred a war cost amounting to two years of annual GDP (at
1996 rates), a report by the Institute of policy studies said here.
The reports titled "The Economic cost of the war in Sri Lanka" stated that
up to 75,000 persons have died in the on going conflict since 1983, which
had cost the successive governments heavily.
"The human and social costs, disability, dispossession and psychological
trauma associated with violence and terror are not really quantifiable,"
the report added.
An "enterprising" hooch dealer is fined heavily.
An "enterprising" hooch manufacturer who ran his business just a few yards
from President Chandrika Kumaratunge's official residence was fined Rupees
30,000 by a Colombo magistrate on Thursday.
The manufacturing plant was raided at Colpetty on Tuesday. During the raid
police seized 10,000 bottles of "moonshine" and several equipment used for
the "lucrative" business.
A high ranking police official told the Lacnet that the entire police
department was baffled as to how the businessman operated without being
checked by the law-enforcement authorities.
The den was discovered just behind the "foreigners only" Ballys casino.
Sri Lanka Army says it cannot confirm or deny that Yakachchi army camp in
Jaffna Peninsula has fallen to tamil rebels, 18 hours after the rebels
claimed they have captured it.
The Sri Lankan Army said on saturday (22ND) that it cannot confirm or deny
claims by tamil rebels that they have captured the crucial Yakachchi army
camp north of Elephant Pass. "All the commanders are on the field and there
is a problem with communications. I know that the LTTE has claimed that
Yakachchi is in their hands. But I cannot confirm or deny it. I have no
information from the North on this up to know" Military spokesman Brigadier
Palitha Fernando told Lacnet news service at 10.30 GMT.
Tamil rebels in a statement issued from their London Office on Friday night
claimed that the Yakachchi army base has fallen to their hands.Military
sources in Colombo however confirmed that heavy fighting was continuing in
the peninsula for the third week as the rebels launched fierce attacks on
army defenses on the main supply route between the Elephant Pass Camp and
rest of the Peninsula.
The rebels mounted a massive,multi-pronged assault on defense positions of
Yakachchi on thursday after a 72 hour lull in the fighting.
Yakachchi is strategically important to maintain the Elephant Pass camp
since the only fresh water wells are located in Yakachchi. If Yakachchi
falls to the rebels the Elephant Pass camp would be without fresh water.
Meanwhile President Kumaratunga who is on a private visit abroad made more
changes in the army high command as the situation in and around Elephant
Pass army camp deteriorated.General Rohan Daluwatta a former Army Commander
has been appointed as Chief of Defense staff placing armed forces chiefs
and the IGP under his command. General Daluwatta Will now be in charge of
all military operations conducted against the tamil rebels.
His appointment came 24 hours after the government rushed two of their top
field commanders to the North. Major General Janaka Perera ,the deputy
chief of Staff of the Army was appointed as overral operations Commander
for both Jaffna and Wanni on Thursday. General Perera, a highly regarded
field commander has been side lined in recent months due to differences
with the political leadership. The army has also rushed Major General
Sarath Fonseka another highly regarded officer to Jaffna naming him as
Sri Lankan Airlines flight delayed after hijacking threat
A Sri Lankan Airlines flight from London's Heathrow airport to Colombo was
delayed by four hours on Thursday following the threat of a hijack, a
spokesperson for the airline said in Colombo. Air line officials in London
reportedly received the threat on the phone minutes before the plane was
scheduled to take off. The flight was delayed until British and Sri Lankan
official investigated the threat. The flight took off four hours later when
the officials came to the conclusion that it was a hoax.
Environmentalists to take legal action to protect seven waterfalls.
Environmentalists are to take legal action against the Ministry of Forestry
and Environment for approving the controversial Upper Kotmale hydro power
The Environment Foundation Ltd, has decided to initiate legal action for
granting approval for the 150 MW electricity project. The environmentalists
have been protesting against the project arguing that it threatens the
existence of seven of the country's leading waterfalls.
MAJOR SETBACK FOR SRI LANKAN FORCES AS LTTE TAKES ELEPHANT PASS
The Sri Lanka Army today faced a major setback as rebel forces after two
days of heavy fighting overran all Sri Lanka Army camps at Yakachi and
The LTTE in a press release form London said over one thousand SLA
troops were killed in the ferocious battle and the remaining troops of the
54 division fled in disarray.
Independent military sources confirmed that Elephant Pass and Yakachi fell
to the rebels today and that the army is withdrawing from the area.
The LTTE in its statement says, 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."
The rebels claim that Tiger forces and commando units stormed into the Yakachi
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.
The rebel statement adds, "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.