Commandos and soldiers of the SL Army have reached the Baron's Cap (Thoppigala) this morning (11 July) , said Defence sources in the East. With this victory, troops have captured the "nerve centre" of the LTTE terrorists' in their last stronghold in the Eastern province.
Meanwhile, troops have also gained the full control over Narakamula, and Tharavikulama areas where, the LTTE leadership had its' Eastern headquarters and other fortifications. The victorious soldiers are presently clearing enemy "pockets" scattered in the dense jungle and are pursuing the LTTE cadres who are on the run.
According to The Media Center for National Security (MCNS), army during this operation has captured two 120mm mortar guns and number of vehicles including five tractors, one bulldozer, one cantor truck, and two double cabs abandoned by the fleeing terrorists. The MCNS further added the troops still have to wipe up a large amount of booby traps, land mines and anti personnel mines left by the terrorists to claim the area fully cleared of the terrorists.
SL military undertook their noble mission to liberate the Eastern Province form terror clutches when the LTTE terrorists closed down the Mavil Aru anicut in June 2006. The terrorists launched a massive offensive against the security forces in August 2006 with the intention of capturing the areas South of Trincomalee district. Having crushed the terror offensive successfully, SL military liberated Sampoor , and Vakaria by January 2007. After liberating Vakarai, LTTE domination had been restricted to Thoppigala area where they had continued to attack civilians and the security forces in the Eastern province.
Since February this year, the security forces commenced their march into the remaining LTTE dominated areas in the East .
Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel moved from Kangikaidichchiaru northwards, wiping out LTTE bases up to Pillumalai while the SL Army soldiers moved westward form Vavunativu capturing Kokkadicholai, Ayittimalai, Unnichchai and Karadiyanru LTTE bases. By April 2007, the troops were able to capture the part of the A-5 main road between Chenkaladi and Mahoya.
Since then, SL Army soldiers were engaged in the Herculean task to capture dense jungle terrain in Thoppigala, which had been under the LTTE domination since 1994. The troops advanced form three frontiers namely; Karadiyanaru Northward, Sittandi Westward and Welikanda southward up against terror barricades, booby traps, land mines in the rocky jungle terrain.
The Eastern Province of the Island is made up of 9,965 square kilometers in extent and covers around 16 per cent of the total land area of Sri Lanka. The maximum length is 286 kilometres from Kumana in the south to Pulmoddai in the north-east. The maximum breadth is 89 kilometres from Ulhitiya in the west to Kirankulam in the East. The province is enriched with a 420 kilometre coastline (Ampara 110 kms, Batticaloa 100 kms and Trincomalee 210 kms). It is the only province with three airports at Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara.