History since 1996 of who has been in control of Omanthai, just north of Vavuniya [LKA29871.E]

Omanthai, controlled by the LTTE since 1990 (AFP 15 May 1998), is a small agricultural community located approximately 14 km north of Vavuniya on the Jaffna-Vavuniya north-south highway (Reuters 14 May 1997).

On 13 May 1997 approximately 20,000 Sri Lankan troops began Operation Jaysikuru (Jay Sikuru or Operation Sure/Certain Victory) to open the strategic Vavuniya-Jaffna highway linking Vavuniya with the Jaffna Peninsula (AFP 15 May 1997; Reuters 30 May 1997).

The following day Sri Lankan forces captured Omanthai from the LTTE (Reuters 14 May 1997; AFP 15 May 1997; The Hindu 14 May 1997). At that time, Reuters reported that Omanthai "constituted the southern forward defences" of the LTTE and was a "heavily-fortified rebel-held frontline town" in the Vanni (14 May 1997). Throughout the summer the LTTE attacked army positions around Omanthai but were unsuccessful at recapturing the town (ibid. 23 May 1997; ibid. 30 May 1997; Sri Lanka News Update 4 Aug. 1997; The Hindu 5 Aug. 1997).

On 21 February 1998 the Colombo English-language newspaper the Daily News reported that Sri Lankan forces remained in control of Omanthai. Documentary sources consulted since February 1998 do not report a change in control of Omanthai.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 15 May 1997. "Sri Lankan Army Launches Fresh Assault on Tigers, Toll Mounts to 42." (NEXIS)

Daily News [Colombo]. 21 February 1998. Paneetha Ameresekere. "Fall of Mankulam, Only a Matter of Time." [Internet] http://www.lanka.net/lakehouse [Accessed 13 Aug. 1998]

The Hindu [Chennai/Madras]. 5 August 1997. P.S. Suryanarayana. "Sri Lanka LTTE, the Loser in Omanthai Encounter." (NEXIS)

_____. 14 May 1997. "International Events in May 1997." [Internet] http://www.the-hindu.com/events [Accessed 13 Aug. 1998]

Reuters. 30 May 1997. BC Cycle. "Sri Lanka Rebels Shell Army Positions." (NEXIS)

_____. 23 May 1997. BC Cycle. Mohan Samarasinghe. "Sri Lankan Rebels Shell Army Positions in North." (NEXIS)

_____. 14 May 1997. BC Cycle. "Advancing Sri Lanka Army Takes Rebel Frontline Town." (NEXIS)

Sri Lanka News Update [Colombo]. 4 August 1997. "Forces Repulse LTTE Attack at Omanthia." [Internet] http://www.lanka.net/Directory/lankaupdate [Accessed 13 Aug. 1998]

Additional Sources Consulted

Sri Lanka Monitor [London]. Monthly. January-June 1998.

Sri Lanka News Update [Colombo]. Monthly. February 1998-present.

Electronic sources: Internet, LEXIS/NEXIS.