Vadamarachchi Operation

Vadamarachchi Operation
Part of the Sri Lankan civil war, Eelam War I
Date May 26, 1987 - June 1987
Location Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Result Partial Sri Lankan Army victory
Coat of arms of Sri Lanka.svg Military of Sri Lanka Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Commanders and leaders
Lt Gen (later Gen) Nalin Seneviratne,
Brig (later Lt Gen) Denzil Kobbekaduwa,
Col (later Maj Gen) Vijaya Wimalaratne,
Maj (later Col, Secy Def) Gotabaya Rajapakse,
Maj (later Col) Lucky Rajasinghe
Velupillai Pirabakaran
8,000 Unknown
Casualties and losses
689 killed[1] 631 killed[1]

The Operation Liberation or Vadamarachchi Operation, the military offensive carried out by the Sri Lankan military during May to June 1987, to re-gain the territory of Vadamarachchi in Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE control. This military offensive marked in Sri Lankan military history as first ever engaged in conventional warfare in Sri Lankan soil after the British colonial rule.


The battle

Brigadier Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Colonel Vijaya Wimalaratne are the two key military personnel who committed themselves to gain the victory for the government troops. Former Sri Lankan President Junius Richard Jayewardene and minister of National Security Lalith Athulathmudali given the political leadership for the operation until the government of India violated the Sri Lankan air space using air force to drop food over Jaffna (Operation Poomalai) on June 4, 1987, which forced to accept Indo-Sri Lankan Accord.

The offensive started on May 26, 1987, under the leadership of the two commanders with 8,000 troops from several battalions from Gemunu Watch (Under the Command of Lt. Colonel Vipul Botheju and Lt. Colonel Wasantha Perera), Gajaba Regiment (under the Command of Lt. Colonel Sathis Jayasundara and Major Gotabaya Rajapakse) and Sri Lanka Light Infantry (Under Lt. Colonel Naradha Wickramarathne), supported by the Sri Lanka Air Force. The difficulty for the troops to out from Thondamanaru area because LTTE forces blew up the Thondamanaru bridge to delay the troops reaching Valvettithurai, the native place of LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran. Eastern side of Thondamanaru was heavliy mined by the LTTE and clearing of the mines and booby traps were left to a field engineer Squadron of the Sri Lanka Engineers commanded by Major Lucky Rajasinghe. First day of the battle belong to the heroics of field engineer squadron which suffered 42 deaths in a span of 4 hours and its squadren commander Lucky Rajasinghe, yet broke through the mine field under the intensive fire from the LTTE bunkers, with the support of the troops from the 1 Gajaba Regiment Commanded by Major Gotabaya Rajapakse. On May 28 troops managed to capture Udupiddy and Valvettithurai and also another military column (Commandos, under the command of Major Sarath Handapangoda) captured Nelliady and advanced towards Point Pedro without giving any possibility to re-grouping of the LTTE units. On first week of June troops managed gain control over entire zone and captured large amount of arms left by LTTE. The military intelligence disclosed the LTTE leader Prabakaran along with Sea Tiger leader Colonel Soosai narrowly escaped from advancing troops.

Though the second stage of this operation was launched on June 3, 1987, to capture the city of Jaffna, the military abandoned it. Indian Aircraft escorted by fighter aircraft infiltrated Sri Lankan air space and dropped humanitarian relief supplies in the Jaffna area on June 4 as people of Jaffna mostly ethnic Tamils were without food and other provisions. No weapons were dropped and there is no record of dropping food or other provisions to Tamil Tigers as opposed to people. Operation Poomalai [2] as it was known was only a relief operation. It had no bearing in stopping the war. After six weeks later Indian Forces landed in Sri Lanka on July 29 with the signing of Indo-Lanka Accord[3].


See also

  • List of Sri Lankan Civil War battles



  • Dissanayaka, T.D.S.A.: War or Peace in Sri Lanka, Volume II. Swastika (Pvt.) Ltd., Colombo 1998.
  • Dixit, J.N.: Assignment Colombo, ISBN 81-220-0499-7. (Dixit was the Indian High Commissioner during the 1980s negotiations that led to the IPKF presence.)
  • Hoole, R., Somasundaram, D., Sritharan K., and Thiranagama, R. The Broken Palmyra - The Tamil Crisis in Sri Lanka: An Inside Account. The Sri Lanka Studies Institute, Claremont 1990. (Also available online [1].)
  • Narayan Swamy, M. R.: Tigers of Lanka: from Boys to Guerrillas. Konark Publishers; 3rd ed. 2002, ISBN 81-220-0631-0.
  • War and Peace in Sri Lanka: With a Post-Accord Report From Jaffna. ISBN 9552600014/ISBN 978-9552600012, Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka; 1 edition (October 1, 1987), By Rohan Gunaratna.
  • Indian intervention in Sri Lanka: The role of India's intelligence agencies. ISBN 9559519905/ISBN 978-9559519904, South Asian Network on Conflict Research (1993), By Rohan Gunaratna.

External links

Official websites
Independent reports and texts

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