Battle of Kokavil

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Battle of Kokavil
Part of the Sri Lankan Civil War
Date June 27 – July 11, 1990
Location Kokavil, Sri Lanka
Result Tamil Tiger victory
Belligerents
Emblem of Sri Lanka.svg Military of Sri Lanka Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Strength
69[1] Unknown
Casualties and losses
69 killed Unknown

The Battle of Kokavil was a battle in June and July 1990 for the control of the town of Kokavil in Sri Lanka. The battle was fought between the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The battle was primarily centered on the 14-day siege of the military camp at Kokavil, which eventually fell to the Tigers.

Battle[edit]

In early June 1990, LTTE fighters attacked SLA forces in the area of Mankulam. These initial attacks were repulsed but by June 12, both Mankulam and Kokavil were surrounded. On June 16 a ceasefire was declared so negotiations can take place. Shortly after this sixteen soldiers, from a military detachment guarding the Rupavahini Relay Station at Kokavil, left on leave leaving 69 soldiers at the camp. Soon after that, on June 27, the camp was surrounded by the LTTE. For the next 14 days the camp was constantly coming under attack. Medicine, food and water were in short supply. Supplies were dropped by helicopters. Because of heavy LTTE fire, the supplies had to be dropped from high above the camp. Much of it landed outside the perimeter of the camp and was lost. The final attack was to start on July 10, and the LTTE started building up forces around the camp. Reinforcements for the soldiers at the camp were not able to arrive because the routes were blocked. That evening the SLA soldiers were left with only 300 rounds of ammunition. By next morning some 30 soldiers were still alive, half of them seriously wounded. The SLA commanding officer, Lt. Aladeniya, was given the order to evacuate, but he refused because he did not want to leave his wounded men. On the evening of July 11, communication with the camp was lost. At 11:45 p.m. the camp was overrun. All of the soldiers were declared missing in action. Lt. Saliya Aladeniya was posthumously promoted to rank of captain and honoured with a Parama Weera Vibhushanaya medal on June 21, 1994.[2]

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