The propaganda war between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE was resumed on Monday with both sides claiming to have killed scores during attacks and counter-attacks in the northern part of the country.
The armed forces maintained that at least 28 LTTE cadres had been shot dead and large caches of arms and ammunition recovered in the last 24 hours.
The Tamil Tigers on their partsaid they had killed 18 Sri Lankan soldiers and injured more than 30 in their attacks on Sunday, apart from capturing assault rifles and ammunition from them. The Army, however, denied it.
The pro-LTTE website Tamilnet, quoting LTTE sources, said on Monday that the Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in the Vavuniya area.
“LTTE on Sunday said they put up stiff resistance to a three-pronged attempt by the Sri Lankan Army to break into their territory in Paalamoaddai, Vavuniya. Eighteen SLA soldiers were killed and three bodies of the SLA were located by the Tigers,” the Tamilnet website said.
“Heavy fighting, backed by heavy artillery and mortar barrage, continued till 3:45 pm when the ground movement of the SLA was thwarted by their fighters, according to the LTTE officials,”' it added.
Military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara dismissed the claims. “No, there is nothing of that sort,”' he told HT. Instead, he said the army had killed several LTTE cadres in the same area.
``We recovered seven bodies (of LTTE personnel) in the Vavuniya area. The bodies would be handed over to the LTTE through the International Red Cross Society,'' Nanayakkara said.
The Media Centre for National Security gave more details of the army's operation. IT is impossible to independently verify the claims and counter-claims of the armed forces and LTTE since the areas where the fighting rages is barred to civilians.