12:08 PM

Army Liberates Sacred Madhu Shrine

Sri Lanka army has liberated the sacred Madhu shrine by beating off the occupying LTTE terrorists today morning (April 25). The soldiers of 8 Sri Lanka Light Infantry reached the shrine as the terrorists beat a retreat unable to withstand the army advance.

The centuries old Catholic shrine is held sacred and respected by all Sri Lankans irrespective of religion and ethnicity. Thousands of pilgrims used to visit the shrine, especially during the church feast in August, before the terrorists took control of the area in 1999.

As LTTE terrorists unleashed their "Final War" in 2006, the church became a sanctuary for thousands of civilians who wanted to avoid their children being conscripted by the terror outfit. Later, LTTE agents acting under religious fa‡ades, evicted these civilians and unashamedly made many of them to fall prey to the terrorists.

Gradually, the terrorists almost turned the shrine into a terror base by positioning its heavy guns around the church and using it as a barrack for its cadres. Though this desecration has been carried out for last few months the fact was kept secret from the general public until the sacred statue of Our Lady of Madhu was shifted two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Army 57 division battling against the terrorists on the Vavuniya battle front, tactically removed most of the terrorists' lines of communication to what had then become the terror stronghold inside the Madhu complex, making the occupying terrorists isolated from the rest. Army specifically resorted to this slow and painstaking tactical measure in order to avoid any military operations within the Madhu "No War Zone". Many soldiers had to sacrifice their lives and limbs in this endeavour as they refrained from any retaliation to shells launched from the vicinity of the church complex.

The mode of operandi became a success as the terrorists started to withdraw amid the increasing military pressures outside the no war zone. The LTTE bands, "Malathi", "Radha" and "Charles Anthony" withdrew from the area after shifting their heavy guns. A small LTTE element lead by a terrorist leader "Gopith" was the last known terror group to remain at the church.

At present, army troops are clearing the surroundings of the church, as there is a strong possibility that the terrorists have booby-trapped the church building before they leave.