Kilinochchi War Memorial (කිලිනොච්චි යුධ ස්මාරකය)

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Kilinochchi War Memorial
Kilinochchi War Memorial

Kilinochchi held immense importance for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), designated a terrorist organization by many countries, fighting for an independent Tamil state for several reasons.

The LTTE utilized a range of tactics including massacring men, women, and children in rural villages, targeting Buddhist clergy, carrying out suicide bombings, and engaging in political assassinations to advance their objectives. They held sway over substantial portions of Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern regions, partly due to strategic errors in governance. By the early 2000s, they had solidified a quasi-governmental structure, complete with its own judicial, law enforcement, and taxation mechanisms.

After 2002, Kilinochchi functioned as the de facto capital of the LTTE’s envisioned state of Tamil Eelam. It housed the headquarters for the LTTE’s administrative structures like the Tamil Eelam Police Force, the Peace Secretariat, and even a bank.

On January 2nd, 2009, Sri Lankan forces captured Kilinochchi, a pivotal moment in the decades-long Sri Lankan Civil War. This capture of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) administrative capital significantly altered the course of the conflict.

The Sri Lankan military campaign to take Kilinochchi was swift and decisive. After months of intense fighting, troops entered the town from multiple directions, encountering minimal resistance. Anticipating the imminent fall of Kilinochchi, the LTTE had largely withdrawn its forces in advance.

The LTTE downplayed the loss, claiming they had withdrawn from a “ghost town.” However, the capture undoubtedly weakened their position and signalled a turning point in the war. The Sri Lankan government continued its offensive, ultimately defeating the LTTE later in 2009.

The Kilinochchi War Memorial was built in the centre of Kilinochchi town in 2010 to commemorate the Sri Lankan military’s capture of the town from the LTTE in 2009, a pivotal moment in the long and bloody Sri Lankan Civil War.

The memorial itself is a rectangular cuboid made of concrete pierced by a torpedo with a lotus flower rising out of the cracks at the top. Standing 30 feet tall, it symbolizes the gallantry of warriors whose unparalleled warfare skills torpedoed all terror tactics and rescued the entire district. The meticulously kept gardens surrounding it offer a space for quiet reflection. For some visitors, it’s a place to honour the sacrifices made by Sri Lankan soldiers.

Visiting the Kilinochchi War Memorial can be a thought-provoking experience. It’s a powerful reminder of the human cost of war and the importance of acknowledging the perspectives of all those affected by the conflict.

Also See

Map of Kilinochchi War Memorial

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travelling Directions to Kilinochchi War Memorial

Vavuniya to Kilinochchi War Memorial
Through: Mankulam
Distance: 115 km
Travel time: 1.15 hours
Driving Directions: see on Google map


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