Monday, September 06, 2004

Lanka’s peace keeping battalion for Haiti

The 750-strong army contingent to be assigned peace keeping duties in Haiti as part of a UN force is ready to leave.
Sri Lanka’s first peace keeping battallion for overseas deployment will be led by Colonel Amal Karunasekera of the army’s oldest fighting regiment, the CLI. Lt. Colonel Prasanna Silva would be its second-in-command.
"We are ready to leave," a battallion spokesperson told The Sunday Island yesterday. The battallion had been drawn primarily from the CLI, he said, adding that small elements from the medical corps, signals, engineers and service corps had been attached. They would take all their equipment and vehicles, including light armoured personnel carriers from here.
Colonel Karunasekera recently led a group of peacekeepers on a reconnaissance mission to the troubled Caribbean island neighbouring the US.
The peacekeepers are scheduled to accord a guard-of-honour to Maj. Gen. Nanda Mallawarachchi, Colonel of the CLI at their Panagoda Regimental Headquarters on Wednesday (8). Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda is also expected to address the troops.
The initial deployment would be for six months. "We would be then replaced by another contingent from Sri Lanka," the spokesperson said.
Sri Lankan troops are key part of a UN mission with about 6,700 peacekeepers asked to restore political stability in Haiti. (SF)

Guerrillas planned Russia attack, hid weapons in school basement: FSB

MOSCOW, Sept 4 — Guerrillas who took 1,000 hostages in a Russian school close to Chechnya for three days staged a well planned attack after first scouring the area and then disguising themselves as workers rebuilding a gym, officials said Saturday.
Russian newspapers and some politicians have questioned how a dozen guerrillas could take so many hostages and then stand up to hundreds of Russian troops during a grisly raid that lasted for more than six hours and killed more that 300 people.
The volatile Caucasus region is notorious for its tight road security caused by a decade of warfare in separatist Chechnya and flaring conflicts in other nearby multi-ethnic republics.But the media is filled with reports of the road police letting just about anyone pass through for a bribe.
The head of the North Ossetian security service said that he was certain now that the guerrillas had located their point of attack well in advance and did not simply rush in on the school on the first day of class on the spur of the moment.
"We found a large amount of explosives and mines, and their number says that this attack was planned in advance," Valery Andreyev was quoted as saying by Interfax.
"The armaments were hidden on the school grounds," he said.
He gave no other details but other news reports fleshed out the story.
They quoted an unnamed source as saying that the militia first scouted out two other schools before settling on School Number One — the main one in Beslan — because it was undergoing major reconstruction work over the summer.
The school needed everything — including a new floor for its gym.
"It looks like they settled on a school that needed renovation ... and which needed a new floor set for its gym," ITAR-TASS quoted an official as saying.
The gym saw the guerrillas herd their victims onto its floor on September 1 and leave them there without food or water and suffocating in overwhelming humidity and heat, surrounded by home-made explosives.
An official told news agencies that they settled on the building in July.
They posed as workers and snuck in their bombs, mines, rocket launchers and other weapons disguised as construction material.
"The bandits snuck in a large amount of arms, munitions, missiles and explosives hidden by planks, cement and other construction material. This was enough for them to lead an extended defense of the building," the source said
They then stashed them away in a case of the basement under the new gym floor before it was laid down, Russian news reports quoted security officials as saying.
Some 322 people — including 155 children — were reported killed, according to the latest toll.
The toll marks the highest in any single hostage-taking in the history of Russia, which has gone through a decade of warfare in separatist Chechnya.

Cancer patient, girl friend insuicide pact - by Norman Palihawadana

A Special Forces soldier and his girl friend, in the early hours of yesterday, committed suicide by exploding a hand grenade in the Mawanella police area.
The soldier, a resident of Morawaka identified as Nandasena Liyanage had detonated the grenade killing him and his girl friend Madavi at Hotel Ganthera in Mawanella. She is from Kegalle. A hotel employee said that the blast shook the building. "We didn’t know what happened. But we quickly identified the room and broke open the door. It was a gruesome sight," he said.
The couple had booked the room on Saturday evening. Police said the soldier stationed at Monkey Bridge in Trincomalee had written a note requesting his parents to settle their hotel bill. He had also requested police and his parents not to suspect foul play as he decided to take his life as he was suffering from cancer.

People power, a thorn in LTTE - By Our Political Editor (

Telephone calls between Colombo and a senior Sri Lanka High Commission personality in London kept interested parties on holiday in that part of the world, informed.
But in Galle on Friday, where Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was attending a wedding, all he got from CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman was a terse answer on his mobile phone ; " I will tell you everything on Sunday ".
Moments later, young Thondaman trooped in to Trans Asia Hotel escorted by armed police commandos and addressed a hurriedly summoned press conference. There he announced that after five months in the Opposition, he was extending his " un-conditional support " to the UPFA Government. Needless to say it, but in case there were any who doubted his motives, it was all in the name of the " peace process ", of course.
The Thondamans jumping is legendary. Grandfather Saumya-moorithy created history by sitting in the cabinet while his party MPs sat in the opposition. He is known to have imparted, in his wisdom, that the CWC must always be in Government.
So, when grandson Arumugam made light of where the CWC would sit in Parliament, it was merely to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather. It matters not where you sit, as long as you are in Power and in Place.
Readers of this newspaper will recall that we reported in April how the CWC leader was largely instrumental in getting the monk-mps of the JHU to support the Opposition candidate for the Speaker's post. He had made a mid-night visit to the monks, hours before the vote and convinced the monks that they must vote with the Opposition.
It so happened that it was the same day that President Chandrika Kumaratunga had withdrawn his Air Force security, something that provoked him to allege, most unfairly, that the President had wanted him killed.
Later, however, the country's Intelligence branches did report a threat element to the life of the CWC leader, and gradually, a few armed policemen were inducted to protect Arumugam Thondaman. Political analysts said that this was only a sweetener to woo back the CWC leader with his band of eager parliamentarians to the plums of Government office.
While negotiations were on with the CWC, and many false alarms raised within the Opposition that " Thonda " was to defect, its leader kept telling Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would support the UPFA Government " conditionally " - on the peace process. So his support for the UPFA Government on the ' peace process ' was always there, except now he will support the Government ' un-conditionally ', which in real terms, would mean that they would accept office under this Government, i.e. Ministries, Deputy Ministries, Corporation posts, vehicles, police guards etc.,
Moments before the public announcement by Thondaman, UNP's deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya attending the opening of a law office at the World Trade Centre seemed to have heard the ' breaking news' , but took it in his stride. Party frontliner Rajitha Senaratne seemed unaware of the developments. And a party wag at the same function cracked, " So what. Thonda will cross, and double-cross ".
Some place the immediate reason for his decision to join the Government to a report that was scheduled to appear in a Sunday newspaper accusing him of unsavoury dealings in a water project. Efforts by UNPers to get its leader to influence the Editor of the newspaper to withhold publication so that they don't offend Thondaman failed, when the leader refused to do so.
But negotiations between functionaries of the CWC and the UPFA have been on for quite some time now. As they say, the ' dowry ' was the problem for the wedding to take place. President Kumaratunga herself had contemptuously rejected an earlier demand by the CWC saying they had brought a '' shopping list " demanding portfolios, deputy ministries, corporation directorates and diplomatic postings. We are still to see what the agreed ' dowry ' is.
Having said what he said at the press conference, Thondaman did what has been the traditional Thondaman trademark - fly to India, this time Hyderabad, to avoid answering too many questions. He will return on Monday to attend the September sessions of Parliament.
UNPers say that the Sunday story, with the pun, the ' water-cut' story, may have been the last straw that broke Thondaman's back. But its leadership was trying to put a brave face forward.
They acknowledged the fact that Thondaman's jump to the UPFA ( despite all the objections from many of its party seniors and branch leaders to linking up with the JVP ) would demoralise the UNP rank-and-file because this meant that the UPFA now has a working majority in Parliament.
In the long-run, however, they believe the issue will not be so much the majority in Parliament, but the Economy, the Cost-of-Living, Jobs - and the LTTE, not necessarily in that order.
They believe, that the CWC is going to get itself tainted with the UPFA's dismal performance on all these fronts with no sign of things improving. And the UNP sees this as an opportunity to move into the plantation-sector voter-base as things get worse in time to come.
Many others in the party don't agree. They continue to feel that the party leadership is looking ' long-term ' which is timeless, to get back to power. They feel the leadership is comfortable in opposition, and adopting a default-strategy approach, i.e. waiting for things to get worse, without engaging in mass mobilisation and preparing for an eventual battle on the streets. Except for the two year interregnum, the UNP has been out of office since 1994 - ten years ago, and counting.
Not that the ruling coalition is not bereft with problems. The entry of the CWC to the UPFA Government took the JVP as much by surprise as anyone else. Their leaders have made it quite clear that running behind Thondaman is not the answer to the country's problems, and Thondaman's pronouncement that he supports ISGA - the LTTE's proposal for self-rule will not sit well with their new coalition partner, the JVP.
The dilemma within the Freedom Party (SLFP) itself is quite evident. President Kumaratunga could not have been amused that her request to postpone the foundation-stone laying ceremony for the party's new headquarters was ignored by her Prime Minister, who was bemused, to say the least, when he found that the plaque prepared by his own party for the ceremony which he ceremonially declared open had all the names of people absent, and not those present, including himself.
Much of the old guard of the SLFP, those loyalists of Mother Ms. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, but now side-lined blamed Kumaratunga for this public spectacle of the internal differences within the party.
For one, she could have told someone that she would not attend the ceremony - and avoided party secretary Maithripala Sirisena a trip to the airport only to greet two of her returning bodyguards. She could have avoided the blushes of the party cadres as well if she could have just told them she would not be present on that date without merely asking for a postponement of the function.
Her repeated way out of these problems is to indulge in shooting from the lip. And her eternal target - the Leader of the UNP and the eternal Leader of the Opposition. Within hours of stepping afoot on Sri Lankan soil, she immersed herself in Ranil-bashing.
At a dinner-meeting at the President's House with members of the Foreign Correspondents Associ-ation, she slammed Ranil as the biggest stumbling block on the road to peace. Not the LTTE, or the JVP as one might expect, but the UNP lead by Ranil Wickremesinghe.
President Kumaratunga said that she was confident that the LTTE would come back to the negotiating table which it left in April last year and that the JVP had agreed to a sharing of power as a means to solve the ethnic conflict. But it was the UNP which was not being helpful.
" It is harder to get UNP and Ranil on board," she said. She went into a lengthy diatribe about the way Wickremesinghe scuttled, in the eleventh hour, her August 2000 draft constitutional proposals to solve the ethnic question. Wickremesinghe did this after assuring in public, "in front of cameras", that he was going to support the draft in parliament, the President said.
In the lengthy discussions preceding the finalization of the draft, Wickremesinghe had suggested many amendments which she incorporated in good faith. This she had done at the cost of the support of the Tamil parties which accused her of kow-towing to every demand of the UNP. And yet, the UNP reneged and tore up and burnt the draft in parliament, while shouting and jeering her down, Kumaratunga said.
Asked what she thought of the UNP's offer of "unconditional" support to her if she opened discussions with the LTTE on the latter's proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) in the North East, the President laughed and said: "Rubbish!"
She was sure that the offer was not made with the best of intentions. "Ranil will not support any scheme for the success of which he cannot get full credit!" Kumaratunga said. She made it obvious that the chemistry between her and Wickremesinghe was bad. She again charged that he and the UNP had been bad to her and her family.
But still, she would keep on trying to get the UNP's support for the peace process. She had no option but to keep trying, "like Sisyphus in Greek mythology". In the Myth of Sisyphus, the Gods had condemned him to roll a rock up a mountain again and again even though it would keep rolling back every time.
"Albert Camus' work on the myth had made a deep impression on me," Kumaratunga said, smiling. However, she did not see any possibility of fruitful cooperation with the UNP or any support from the UNP, "so long as Ranil is the leader."
However, the President did mention the ceasefire or the halt to the war brought about by Wickremesinghe in February 2002, as an " achievement." The ceasefire was " quite a bit of success."
The relaxed mood in the President's House was palpable with her pet brown and white Basset hound "Lulu' scampering around while she was addressing the foreign press based in Colombo.
While these political fall outs were taking place in the 'south', significant political developments were also taking place in the ' north and east ', which, due to what was happening closer home, escaped the required attention.
President Kumaratunga did not refer to these developments either when she met the foreign correspondents. In a passing reference she said that economic development in the north and east was not being neglected.Work on 37 bridges and roads had got off the ground. "The LTTE is discussing these projects with us," she said.
But reports from those areas indicated a growing resentment to the LTTE's intransigence on the peace front. It looked as if, the ordinary people were ready for revolt, expressing their anger at feet-dragging by the LTTE to ensure that these ordinary folk get back on their feet after 20 years of misery.
This is what the official Intelligence report had to say of the situation that had erupted both in Gurunagar near Jaffna, and in Trincomalee during the course of the week;
"Ten fishermen belonging to Gurunagar fishing society had gone for fishing in three trawlers towards Palathivu area and had been forcefully stopped and apprehended by the LTTE along with their trawlers. The fishermen had been severely beaten and blamed for poaching in LTTE High Security Zone in general area Palathivu. Subsequently around 1130 hours angry members of Gurunagar fishing society (approx. 150) had stormed into the office belonging to Northern Province Fishermen Corporative Society managed by the LTTE at Sinnakadai. Further all members of fishing societies operating in beach road have suspended fishing as a protest against the violent act of the LTTE and lodged a complaint at the SLMM office Jaffna. An attempt made by LTTE Jaffna Political wing leader (Elamparithy) to settle the problem through negotiation with the fishermen had been unsuccessful due to further escalation of violence."
In Trincomalee, Sinhalese residents had taken to the streets at the abduction of two home-guards. This was not particularly a spontaneous show like the case at Gurunagar, it appeared that 'southern' political parties and groups played a prominent role in instigating the demonstrators.
Whatever - there is increasing pressure on the LTTE now faced with an internal dispute of its own, and growing expectations of the people they say they represent to deliver the peace.The fear is, whether the way out for them from delivering that peace -is to go back to war.

Suresh’s outraged wife reveals LTTE secret (

The Chief Negotiator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Anton Balasingham last week delivered a strong message to Norwegian facilitators - Special Envoy Erik Solheim and Ambassador Hans Brattskar.
He said the LTTE was concerned over the killings in the East and elsewhere carried out by armed groups, obviously with the assistance of Military Intelligence units. During a meeting in London, he charged this was a violation of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) and will definitely not be helpful to create a conducive environment for the parties to recommence the stalled peace process.
"Unless the Government takes effective measures to end this series of violence perpetrated on the LTTE, it is hard to imagine how one can seriously talk about re-commencing peace talks," their official Peace Secretariat web site quoted Mr. Balasingham as saying.
Both Mr. Solheim and Mr. Brattskar flew to London to de escalate rising tensions between the Government and the LTTE. That became their top priority to ensure the CFA remained intact. This is whilst they continued their long drawn efforts to persuade the two sides to return to the negotiating table - a move that no doubt is turning out to be arduous and time consuming. More so with the two sides trading allegations and distancing themselves from each other.
Whilst Mr. Balasingham was articulating LTTE's position in London, some developments that ran counter to the accusations he was making were surfacing in Colombo. Those revelations pointed the finger directly at the LTTE for some of the killings. The targets were helpers and informants of the Army's Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI).
No doubt members of the Karuna faction were also gunning down cadres loyal to the Wanni leadership in a violent campaign that is now hotting up in the East. Senior officials and military leaders have denied any formal backing to the Karuna group in their campaign. The latest to join in was President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. She told foreign correspondents on Friday there was no security forces support. It was the Government's policy not to back one terrorist group against another, she said. The new disclosures came to light during ongoing Police investigations into the death of Suresh alias Tissaveerasingham Surendran. He was shot dead by Tiger guerrilla hit men on August 28 at Pepiliyana.
Suresh was a key player in the now defunct Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP) once operated in the East by the DMI. He helped accomplish vital targets. A Police raid on a Safe House (or a forward intelligence cell) operated by the DMI, during the tenure of the former United National Front (UNF) Government betrayed all their covert operations. Subsequent efforts by UNF leaders to cover up this serious breach of national security failed. One UNF Cabinet Minister offered DMI officers attractive cash rewards, promotions and a life of luxury together with their families in a country of their choice. They, however, spurned the overtures which were in return for withdrawing a fundamental rights violation case they had filed in the Supreme Court.
When some of the others helping the DMI operatives were tracked and gunned down by LTTE hit men, Suresh was moved to a rented house in Pepiliyana. He was earlier operating from Batticaloa. From Pepilyana he had planned to go abroad to seek employment. He was under specific orders not to move away from the house lest he be identified by guerrilla spotters roaming the City of Colombo and suburbs. How then was Suresh tracked down and killed?
The answers, The Sunday Times learnt, came in confessions his wife Sivajothi Sivalingam made to the Police. She was given the LTTE nom de guerre Jothi. The saga she related would easily be good material for a book with chapters studded with love, intrigue and espionage.
Jothi and her two children lived with Suresh but left him and went to Batticaloa after an altercation. When she was in Pepiliyana she had regular visitors from the East. Upon her departure, Suresh lived with Jothi's sister, Rajendran Geethanjali (LTTE nom de guerre Kavitha). The two fell into Police hands when they arrived in Colombo to claim the body of Suresh.
Now Police say Jothi has confessed to having conspired with top rung Tiger guerrilla cadres to murder Suresh. It seemed she was piqued by Suresh's affair not only with her sister but also with another woman. Those made her go out of the way to teach him a lesson.
She made contact with Ramanan, the Tiger guerrilla intelligence wing leader for Batticaloa. He in turn was in touch with Keerthi, the LTTE intelligence boss for the East who reported directly to Pottu Amman, the spy chief, who directed operations from the Wanni.
Jothi had first planned to poison Suresh. However, the latter had become suspicious. This was after he began to feel uncomfortable about some of the men who visited his home to meet Jothi. Though they had parted ways, Jothi was still in touch with Suresh. She had talked to him about making plans for a grand birthday bash for their elder son on September 28. But Jothi also had other plans that were not conveyed to Suresh.
If Suresh's handler in the DMI, a senior officer who played a prominent role in DMI's LRRP operations in the East, accepted the invitation to the party, there was going to be additional visitors. That was in the form of either LTTE hit men armed with pistols or a suicide bomber. Their task was to kill this DMI officer, one of those who contributed to the success of their LRRP operations in the East. He had also, with the help of Suresh, identified or attacked other targets.
Police say a more sinister plan was afoot if by some chance the officer concerned was unable to attend the birthday party. Two "gift packs" supposed to contain sweetmeats and pieces of birthday cake were to be delivered to the homes of the officer in question and to Brigadier Kapila Hendavitharana, Director of Military Intelligence. The latter has just been named Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI). In that capacity he heads the tri service intelligence arms. In reality the "gift packs" were to contain an improvised explosive device.
Opening the pack would have been instant death to the DMI chief and his top operative. But, plans had been changed ahead of the impending birthday party. This is believed to be over suspicion that Suresh, who discouraged the birthday bash, was planning to leave the country. The task of gunning him down, Jothi had told Police, fell on Mylvaganam Sivakumar (LTTE nom de guerre Venthan), a notorious guerrilla hit man responsible for a spate of attacks.
Besides Suresh, it was Venthan and his hit men who were responsible for killing DMI informants associated with activities of the safe house at Athurugiriya. Here is his catalogue:
Ganeshamoorthy Tillekerajah alias Samy - Shot dead in Wellawatte on December 11, 2002.
Sivathamby Rajan alias Varathan - Shot dead in Batticaloa on February 4, 2003.
Kadirgamathamby Ragupathy alias Ragu - Shot dead in Mount Lavinia on March 13, 2003.
Kumaraperumal Periyamban alias Master - Shot dead in Batticaloa on May 21, 2003.
Lance Corporal L. Devaraja alias Ashok - Shot dead in Pepiliyana on April 26, 2003.
Kandiah Yogarasa alias PLOT Mohan - Shot dead at Bambalapitiya on July 31, 2004.
All these killings were officially denied by the LTTE. They argued that killings in controlled areas were a matter for the Government since security was in their hands. Killings in uncontrolled areas, the LTTE claimed, were the result of internecine battles within paramilitary groups. However, Jothi's confessions to the Police have thrown new light on the killings. The Police findings are to be sent to the Attorney General once the investigations are concluded.
Special Envoy Solheim arrives in Colombo on September 13. During talks with UPFA leaders and Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat, Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, he is expected to place the LTTE positions enunciated by Mr. Balasingham. In turn, the Government is now armed with fresh evidence to counter some of the LTTE accusations, more pointedly the involvement of Tiger guerrilla intelligence in the killings of DMI operatives and informants.
Such killings had continued after the previous UNF Government failed to take preventive action. This was after the Police raid at the Safe House in Athurugiriya led by ASP Kulasiri Udugampola, who was then a Superintendent of Police. He has since been sent on compulsory leave by the Police Commission. Disciplinary action was also initiated against many Army officers named by the Commission. However, some still continue to have Army drivers, escorts and even transport facilities unofficially.
President Kumaratunga appointed a one man Commission of Inquiry to probe "disclosures of the existence of and the raid on the safe house." The Commissioner D. Jayawickrema named some Army and Police officers who "have conspired with Kulasiri Udugampola to raid this Safe House for their own personal benefits." He held that the country's national security interests were compromised by this raid.
Even if UNF leaders tried to play down the existence of the safe house at Athurugiriya soon after the Police raid, killings of informants were triggered off by this incident. Such killings related not only to those directly helping or were informants of the DMI but also extended to many others including those assisting other Army units or military installations in the former operational areas of the North and East.
When such killings proliferated, then Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, appointed a three member Committee to Examine Measures Required to Enhance the Safety of Informants of the Directorate of Military Intelligence. It was headed by then Defence Secretary, Austin Fernando and comprised then Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle and then Defence Advisor, retired DIG Merril Gunaratne. They spelt out measures necessary to protect those assisting DMI. That action, despite public denials on the existence of a DMI safe house, was significant enough.
The Committee's recommendations included placing informants and helpers in close proximity to security installations and the issue of weapons. That is not all. Later, former Defence Secretary Fernando was asked by the Commission whether he was aware of the existence of the Safe House. He replied:
"No. I do not think, and I do not think there is a necessity either, because this type of operation is so covert that even the Minister or Secretary need not know, because these are done in such secrecy. We only know the principles of doing it, but perhaps if a success takes place we will be told and not written, O.K, Mr. "X" is gone because of us, and we will not know how it was done, when it was done or what and what were taken and all that. I do not think there is any necessity, for the sake of State secrecy the Minister, the Secretary, the President or the Prime Minister need not know."
Now there is more shocking news. An investigation ordered by President Kumaratunga, as a sequel to the Commission's findings, has in their report made some startling disclosures. A main highlight, supported by corroborative evidence, is the fact that the Police raid on the safe house was not an accident or carried out due to lack of awareness. The probe has revealed that it was in fact a conspiracy where some high ranking Police officials, with the support of Army officers, were involved. Among the policemen named is a high ranking officer now head of an important investigation division.
The Sunday Times learns that the probe report has now been forwarded to the Attorney General's Department for action. Upon their advice, besides indictments against those involved, disciplinary action is to be initiated against those in the Police who have been identified.
The ten man team that conducted the investigation was headed by Asoka Wijetilleke, SSP. It included Neville Guruge, ASP and a team seconded from the CID. They were made up of three Inspectors, two Sub Inspectors, a Sergeant Major, a Sergeant and a Woman Police Constable. They recorded evidence at the Mounted Police Division Headquarters in Pettah.
These developments come in the backdrop of a Tiger guerrilla manhunt for rival cadres and DMI informants in the East, the City of Colombo and the suburbs. Whilst stepping up the manhunt, the LTTE has also intensified efforts to regain full military control of the Batticaloa district. This week a large group led by Akbar had taken full control of the Vakarai area. A house to house campaign to re enlist cadres who fled after the Karuna split has also been launched. Their families had been told that it was the only way they could be protected if a war was to break out. On Thursday a group of 20 youth had been enlisted in Sittandy.
If recruitment was very slow in the Batticaloa distirict, it was going on at a hectic pace in the Trincomalee district. Tiger guerrilla cadres were also conducting searches in the Toppigala jungles for members of the Karuna faction. This is particularly in the backdrop of the incident near an Army check-point at Kayankerni where two senior LTTE cadres were killed.
In south Trincomalee, intelligence sources say, the guerrilla build up also continues. Larger numbers are being concentrated in the coastal village of Sampur, which is located cheek by jowl with the entrance to Trincomalee harbour. According to these sources, the head of LTTE's artillery wing, Banu and his close associates have been visiting this area and strengthening encampments there. The move has led to stepped up vigilance by the Sri Lanka Navy from their Eastern Command in Trincomalee.
It was early this week that the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) sent the Ministry of Defence and the Peace Secretariat an interim report on LTTE camps south of Trincomalee - a matter that has been dealt extensively in these columns. According to Defence Ministry sources, the SLMM had confirmed the existence of a number of camps including Manirasakulam (or Kurangu Paanchan Kulam). Their final report is now being awaited.
With Norwegian facilitation efforts resuming in Colombo from next week, the UPFA has to contend with several important issues. One is the concerns raised by the killing spree of Army informants and the counter to LTTE accusations that military intelligence was supporting paramilitary groups opposed to the LTTE.
Another will be to formulate immediate counter measures to prevent the proliferation of incidents in the City and suburbs. With direct peace talks long way off, making sure that the ceasefire, which President Kumaratunga has conceded is a good thing, remains intact seems a more difficult task.

Bigger STF to fight crime By Sunil Jayasiri

The STF is to get at least 2000 more recruits and new weapons to enable the elite force to play a bigger role and help curb the crime rate, a top official said yesterday.
Interior Ministry Secretary Tilak Ranavirajah addressing STF personnel after an inspection said President Chandrika Kumaratunga was sensitive to the needs of the STF and had agreed to a request for more weapons to be given to it.
He said this elite force would be strengthened with two new regional units being set up in Ampara and Nuwara Eliya.
Mr. Ranavirajah said some 2000 more personnel would be recruited to the STF and the government hoped the crime rate could be curbed with the help of the STF.

Captain disappears in Rantambe reservoir By L.B. Senaratne

An Army Life Saver from the Rantambe National Cadet Corps. Training Centre has been reportedly dragged away by a crocodile in the Loggal Oya area of the Rantambe reservoir.
The Training Centre's Commanding Officer Major Devapura said Captain Priyantha of Embilipitiya had tried to take a rope across to be tied on the other bank for training of cadets. While swimming he had disappeared underwater. They believed that a crocodile which had been spotted in the area several times had dragged him away. Major Devapura said usually Police divers from Gampola Police were brought down to train the cadets at Rantambe, but it had not been done on this occasion.
The body has still not been recovered.

Suicide bomber's accomplice further remanded

Sathyaleela Selvakumari, accomplice to the Kollupitiya Police station suicide bomber, was further remanded till September 15, by Colombo Fort Magistrate Sarath C. Karunaratne. The suspect was not produced in court for security reasons and would be produced at the special court at Welikada prison. Police stated that the suspect had many aliases and they were conducting investigations to ascertain the identity of the woman.
The suspect Sathyaleela Selvakumari of Jaffna, an ex-employee of the EPDP, had assisted in conducting the suicide bomber to Minister Douglas Devananda's office. Police stated that the suicide bomber was brought to the Kollupitiya Police station when she aroused the suspicions of the Minister's security staff. When about to be examined, the suicide bomber had detonated the bomb strapped on her, killing four Police officers among others. The CID prosecuted.

STF men well protected despite LTTE killings, says Commandant By Sunil Jayasiri

Despite the series of killings of intelligence operatives by the LTTE in the Eastern Province as well as in the South, STF Commandant DIG Nimal Lewke yesterday gave an assurance that his intelligence officers would be protected from any attacks as he had given them enough security.
"I have taken every action to protect STF intelligence operatives from enemy attacks", he claimed.
When asked whether the government was ready to provide security to them, he said, as STF Commandant, he was responsible for the lives of those operatives and he should take measures to protect them.
The LTTE's pistol gang had gunned down almost all intelligence operatives of the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol recently. This unit had been responsible for eliminating several senior LTTE members in uncleared areas.

SLA arrests three in Jaffna, one missing [TamilNet, March 08, 2001 18:28 GMT]

The Sri Lanka Army arrested a village officer at his home in Jaffna Thursday morning around 7 a.m. Nagalingam Sunthararajah, 44 was arrested by a SLA special forces motorcycle unit which neither gave a receipt nor reason for his arrest, his relatives said. Sunthararajah is the village officer for section J.486 in Jaffna.
The SLA also arrested Vivekanadan Ramesh, 32, at a hardware shop in Jaffna Thursday morning. The army gave no reason for his arrest.
Another youth, Tharmakulasingham Thaasan, 17, was arrested Wednesday morning at his residence in KKS Road in Jaffna town.
Sunthararajah, Ramesh and Thaasan are being detained at the 51-2 brigade headquarters in Jaffna town, sources said. Their relatives have complained to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna.
Meanwhile, the mother of Saravanamuththu Rajeswaran, 22, complained to the HRC Thursday that he son has been missing from yesterday. She said that she is making inquiries whether her son too was arrested by the SLA.

Batticaloa leprosy hospital to close, SLA to move in [TamilNet, March 20, 2001 12:08 GMT]

Sri Lanka's first hospital for leprosy patients that was built on an island in the Batticaloa lagoon in 1926 is to be closed this month, health officials in the eastern town said Tuesday. Hospital officials said that the government is closing down the hospital so that the Sri Lanka army can take over the strategically located Maantheevu (Deer Island) and the buildings on it. They said that the SLA had recently inspected the structures on the island recently. The island overlooks the main entry point between the Batticaloa town and the districtís main hinterland, which is controlled by the Liberation Tigers. The British started the Maantheevu hospital with 250 patients 76 years ago. This island in the Batticaloa lagoon was selected for its salubrious condition and isolation. Access to Maantheevu is only by boat.
A patient in the hospital. Note: Tamilnet library photo. SLA does not allow cameras on the islandThe SLA's 23-3 brigade headquarters in Batticaloa town told the leprosy hospital officials Monday that all the patients in their care would be transferred to a medical facility in Ragama near Colombo on 28 March. The Health Ministry too informed the officials Monday that the inmates should be ready to leave the island and that a team of officials would be visiting the Maantheevu hospital on 23 March for finalising arrangements for the transfer. The Health Ministry sent circular in November 2000 that the Maantheevu hospital is to be closed down and that persons affected by leprosy should be treated as out patients in hospitals in the district. The Ministry officials had said that the transfer is necessary to ensure the security of fifteen Sinhala patients who are on treatment here. Tamil and Muslims inmates are objecting to the transfer. However, informed sources in Batticaloa said that the decision to close down was taken by the Ministry because the army wanted to take over the island for its strategic and secure location.

12 SLA soldiers killed at Sungawil -VoT [TamilNet, May 11, 2001 18:50 GMT]

Twelve Sri Lanka Army soldiers were killed in an ambush by the Liberation Tigers at Sungawil in the Polonnaruwa district around 6.40 a.m Thursday. The LTTE ambush unit recovered 3 bodies of the SLA soldiers killed in the attack, the Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio said Friday evening. The radio said the SLA troops were returning to their camp at Sungavil after night patrol when they were attacked. The LTTE ambush unit recovered following weapons, according to the radio: AK Light Machine Guns-02, 40 mm. Pistol-02, T-56 assault rifles-09, Communication equipment-01, Night Vision Glass -01, medium range rounds-2282, Binocular-01. Meanwhile the Liberation Tigers handed over a body of a SLA soldier to the International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday in the northern Vanni region, according to the radio. The soldier was killed in an ambush by the Tigers at Ceylon Theater in the Manal Aaru region Thursday morning. In a seperate incident the Liberation Tigers snipped and wounded a Sri Lanka Army soldier at Kiran, about 27 km. north of Batticaloa around 6 a.m. Friday, army sources in the eastern town said. The soldier was admitted at the Polonnaruwa hospital. Sources in Batticaloa said all transport through Kiran bridge was disrupted and some civilians were also assaulted by the soldiers.

SLA commando soldier killed [TamilNet, January 02, 1999 17:22 GMT]

A Special Forces (SF) commando of the SLA's motorcycle unit that was riding ahead of an army convoy was killed this afternoon around 1.15 p.m. at Saththurukkondaan, six kilometers north of Batticaloa town, on the main road when he was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).
The rapid deployment motor cycle party rides ahead of large SLA convoys leaving Batticaloa when the threat is considered high on the main road to Valaichenai and thence to Polannaruwa.
The IED that killed the SF commando had been concealed in a tree said Sri Lankan Police sources.
Although recently purchased Chinese armoured personnel carriers (APCs), South African Buffles and British Unicorns guard the convoys, it has been felt that they are useless against the small groups of Liberation Tigers who set off claymores, fire on the vehicles hit by these mines and quickly melt away into the shrub jungle and villages by the road.
This was the case when another SLA unit was attacked at Aarumukaththaankudiyiruppu, seven kilometers further north of Saththurukkondaan, recently.
The Tigers had caused the damage and withdrawn before the APCs could effectively swing into action.
The motor cycle borne rapid deployment unit of the SF is considered were agile in dealing with such situations.

LTTE condemns SLA's intimidating behaviour in Jaffna [TamilNet, June 21, 2003 17:44 GMT]

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Saturday complained to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers are intimidating its members and public in Jaffna district, sources said.
The LTTE Jaffna district political office in its complaint said that when the head of the Vadamarachchi war memorial and members of public were clearing the memorial premises Friday morning eight armed SLA soldiers arrived in four field motorbikes at high speed, stopped at the entrance to the war memorial and threatened the members of the public.
The SLA soldiers left the area after spitting on the ground. They behaved indecently, LTTE Jaffna district political authorities told the SLMM.
"SLA soldiers are violating the spirit of the ceasefire agreement in Jaffna by intimidating members of LTTE and public in Jaffna district. We severely condemn this provocative act of the SLA soldiers, "said LTTE to the SLMM.

SLA increases motorbike patrols in Vadamarachchi [TamilNet, July 17, 2003 10:49 GMT]

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has increased its field motorbike group patrols in Vadamarachchi division from Thursday, escalating tension and fear among the residents of the area, civil sources said.
Meanwhile, a fourteen-year-old boy Yogarajah Kalaichchelvam was knocked down by a speeding field motorbike patrol of the Sri Lanka Army Thursday morning around at nine a.m. near Supparmadam in Vadamarachchi division in Jaffna district, police said.
The boy was admitted at the Manthikai government hospital with serious injuries, sources said.
Meanwhile another report said that some army soldiers of the field motorbike group had gone to the house of the injured boy and threatened his parents not to report this accident to the Police.

SL soldiers charged in Chavakachcheri for traffic offence [TamilNet, February 13, 2004 16:41 GMT]

The Chavakachcheri Police Friday filed plaint against two soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army in the Magistrate’s court, charging them for causing injuries to a Tamil civilian by hitting him with their field motorbike on January 9th along the Post Office road in Chavakachcheri, legal sources said.
According to the complaint lodged at the Chavakachcheri Police Station, the injured civilian had stated that when he was cycling along the post office road two members of SLA field motor bike group came at a high speed from the camp and collided their motor bike with his cycle, causing him severe injuries, legal sources said.
The Magistrate, Mr.P.Subramaniam, who entertained the plaint directed the SL military police to furnish a report regarding this incident and put off further inquiry for March 5, legal sources said.
Meanwhile, civil sources Friday said the SLA has increased its field motorbike group patrol in the Jaffna peninsula and soldiers are seen frequently riding motorbikes at high speeds on the main roads, with their faces covered with black clothes.

Two Tigers killed in ambush north of Batticaloa [TamilNet, August 20, 2004 11:13 GMT]

Mr. Bawa, a senior member of the Liberation Tigers from the Amparai District and an LTTE rehabilitation affairs official were killed in an ambush near a Sri Lanka army camp at Kayankerni, 36 kilometres north of Batticaloa, Friday around 2.15 p.m. Mr. Bawa was riding a motorbike with Mr. Yoga, an LTTE official in charge of rehabilitation work, when gunmen ambushed them triggering a claymore mine and opening fire at Pullaavi junction in Kayankerni, an area controlled by the Sri Lankan military. A female cadre travelling with them was seriously injured. She was earlier believed dead.
Mr. Bawa was formerly head of the LTTE political division for the Amparai District.
The Sri Lanka army has a regular day sentry at Pullaavi junction, residents in Kayankerni said.
The female cadre earlier believed killed is admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Batticaloa General Hospital with serious injuries.
The gunmen who ambushed the Tigers near the SLA camp got away, they said.

Tigers attack SLA ambush group [TamilNet, October 07, 2001 06:53 GMT]

A Sri Lanka army soldier was killed and two were wounded in a counter ambush by the Liberation Tigers at Miyankulam junction on the Batticaloa-Colombo highway Saturday night around 11 p.m. military sources in the eastern town said. The soldiers were in an ambush party that had set out from the Miyankulam SLA camp to interdict a crossing point used by the Liberation Tigers. The camp is one of the eight military detachments that guard A 16 – the SLA’s Main Supply Route to the district.
The wounded soldiers were taken to the Polannaruwa hospital.
The A16 runs through a large zone in the northern part of the district which is controlled by the Liberation Tigers.
Strapped for manpower, the SLA finds it increasingly difficult to interdict LTTE movements across the highway.

Tigers counter attack SLA ambush [TamilNet, September 12, 2001 13:20 GMT]

A Sri Lanka army soldier was killed and another was seriously wounded when a group of Liberation Tigers counter attacked a SLA ambush party at Adampan junction, eight kilometres south east of Mannar, Wednesday morning. A firefight erupted as the LTTE group walked into an ambush by three teams from the nearby SLA camp in Maanthai around 9 a.m. sources said. The Tigers had then taken up position to counter attack the SLA ambush teams, killing one and seriously injuring another.
The Liberation Tigers often cross the Adampan junction, although the SLA claims that the area is under its control. The military says that the Tigers and their supporters smuggle goods that are banned under Colombo’s harsh economic embargo on the Vanni through points on the Main Supply Route to Mannar (the western sector of the A14 highway) such as the Adampan junction.
The SLA and the Special Task Force deployed along the MSR to Mannar seek to control the smuggling and interdict logistical runs by the Tigers by setting up ambushes in suspected crossing points on the A14.

Two soldiers wounded in LTTE ambush [TamilNet, July 18, 2001 20:33 GMT]

Two Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were wounded, one of them seriously in an ambush by the Liberation Tigers at Vaarikuddiyoor, 16 km. northwest of Vavuniya, around 5.15 p.m. Wednesday, army sources in the northern town said.
The soldiers, a sergeant and a lieutenant, were cycling when they were fired at by the Tigers, who had taken up positions behind a bush, the sources said.
The Army lieutenent is reported to be in a serious condition, according to the sources.
Soldiers from a nearby sentry post rushed to the scene and commandeered a public transport bus to transport the wounded colleagues to Anuradhapura hospital. The bus was later brought to the Pampaimadhu SLA camp.
The troops conducted a search operation in the area.

Tiger ambush behind SLA lines [TamilNet, November 04, 1997 23:59 GMT]

The Liberation Tigers ambushed a group of Special Forces Commandos travelling in a tractor at Nayinamadu killing five and wounding several others last evening around 5.30 p.m.
The LTTE exploded a claymore mine in the ambush. The commandos belonged to the 53 division.
Sources close to the army in Vavuniya said that the Jayasikurui commanders were very alarmed that the LTTE has been able to launch this daring attack in the heart of an area dominated by the army.

Tigers ambush SLA patrols [TamilNet, November 10, 1997 23:59 GMT]

The Liberation Tigers attacked a Sri Lankan army patrol near Vathiri junction in Jaffna around 10 a.m this morning killing four soldiers.
The LTTE had set off a claymore mine in the ambush. The attack was in the vicinity of Thevarazhiyan Hindu College.
In another incident, The Liberation Tigers attacked a Sri Lankan army patrol with grenades in the Nediyakaadu area in Valvettithurai this morning around 8.15 a.m. Heavy gunfire was reported in the area following the grenade attack.
Casualties on either side was not known.
A bystander identified as Navaratnam Soundari was injured in the crossfire. She was admitted to the Manthikai hospital.
The Liberation Tigers ambushed another SLA patrol in Alvai east in a place called Mayakkai yesterday. The Ministry of Defence acknowledged this afternoon that one soldier was killed in the LTTE attack.

SLA clears verges over ambush fears [TamilNet, November 04, 1997 23:59 GMT]

The Sri Lankan army has asked residents in Kokkuvil and Kalviankaadu to cut down trees along the road side and inside lanes. The people in these areas have also been ordered not to thatch the lower side of their fences by the lanes and roads.
This follows the detection of four Improvised Explosive Devises attached to and hidden in trees by the side of some lanes and roads in Kokkuvil and Kalviankaadu frequented by the army.
The military intelligence in Jaffna has informed Sri Lankan troops that an LTTE unit in these areas is preparing to launch a series of small scale ambushes using the IEDs in the smaller lanes which are sometimes used by the army's foot patrols.
The Sri Lankan army has asked residents in certain parts of Valigamam and Vadamaradchi also to do the same.

Razeek group displays two bodies [TamilNet, December 18, 1997 23:59 GMT]

The Razeek group which went to Thalavai yesterday returned to their camp in Batticaloa town this afternoon with the bodies of two youths whom the group had shot dead in an ambush in the early hours of the morning today.
The Razeek group claims that the boys were LTTE operatives working in the Thalavai area and that a grenade was recovered from the possession of one of them.
The Razeek group claims that the boys were LTTE operatives working in the Thalavai area and that a grenade was recovered from the possession of one of them.
The public passing by the camp are being shown the two bodies which are on display in Razeek's camp.
Sources in Batticaloa said this evening that the bodies would be handed over to the Batticaloa hospital nearby tomorrow after they begin to decompose tonight. The hospital will then hand them over to the ICRC.
The Razeek group is doing this to create fear among potential young recruits said the sources who were sceptical that the two boys killed in Thalavai are members of the LTTE.

Razeek group member shot dead [TamilNet, December 17, 1997 23:59 GMT]

The Liberation Tigers shot dead a member of the Razeek group this morning at Thalavai, about fifteen kilometers north of Batticaloa town. The dead youth, identified as M. Kunaratnam 24, was part of fully armed platoon of the Razeek group which had set an ambush on the Liberation Tigers who frequent the Thalavai area from the early hours of the morning.
Two civilians Kandhaiah Thangavel 37, and his wife Sumithra, on their way to collect firewood had walked into the ambush area and were caught by the ambush party, tied up, blind folded and were left in the custody of Kunaratnam.
The Tigers, however, outmanoeuvred the Razeek group's ambush party and shot dead Kunaratnam who was standing guard to the Thangavel couple. The others of the Razeek group ambush party took to their heels, abandoning Kunaratnam's body in Thalavai.
The civilian couple were injured in the cross fire. Two bus load of armed cadres of the Razeek group who are working as soldiers with the SLA have gone to the Thalavai area from their camp in the Batticaloa town following the incident said informed sources close to the group.
They had not returned until evening sources said.

STF patrol ambushed [TamilNet, January 14, 1998 23:59 GMT]

The Liberation Tigers ambushed a Special Task Force patrol last evening near the Thuraineelavanai junction, about 26 kilometers south of Batticaloa, killing a military informant identified only as Kannan. None of the STF personnel in the patrol were injured, said sources today.
Kannan was a youth who, according to sources, had been associated with the LTTE in the area. He was captured by the STF two days ago at the nearby village of Periyaneelavanai.
Kannan had offered to point out the LTTE's positions in the stronghold of Thuraineelavanai to the STF.
Hence, sources say, the STF was taking him to Thuraineelavanai when it was ambushed yesterday.
Meanwhile the Counter Subversive Unit (CSU), the dreaded security intelligence arm of the Sri Lankan Police, launched a sudden operation in the Batticaloa town to thoroughly check all motorcycles and their owners in the town this morning. Sources said this was done on a tip off.
The Sri Lankan Police said that they had arrested two members of the Liberation Tigers around 2 a.m. this afternoon in the Batticaloa town.
They said two hand grenades had been found in the possession of the arrested youth.
Indpendent sources in Batticaloa, however, said that it could not be confirmed wether the arrested youth were Tigers or not.

Eight LTTE fighters killed [TamilNet, May 11, 1998 23:59 GMT]

Seven LTTE fighters died in two different accidental explosions yesterday in the Vanni said Voice of Tigers (VOT) in its night transmisssion today.
Six LTTE fighters were killed in one of blasts said the radio, naming them as:
Lieutenant Nilamakal (Palanivel Chitrathevi, Jaffna), Captain Uruthra (Sinnathamby Thevakala, Jaffna), Captain Kayatkodi (Tharmathevan Vanaja, Jaffna), Arulvani (Tharmarajah Jeyatharshini, Trincomalee) and Thamilmangai (Sivakuru Rajakuru, Kandy) and Sujita (Arokiyanathar Judenathar) Jaffna.
One LTTE fighter, Ilamaran (Pooventhan Manivel, Trincomalee), died in the other explosion the radio said.
Meanwhile, one LTTE fighter, Ltd. Naren also known as Poovalahu (Selvaratnam Rajan, Jaffna) died in a SLA ambush, said VoT.

Link between Karuna and military intelligence in killing ( )

A possible link between the Karuna faction and military intelligence in the murder of Ramalingam Padmaseelan alias Lt. Col. Senathiraja, the former Batticaloa political head of the LTTE has surfaced during investigations conducted in the east.

A military intelligence operative had picked up Kanapathipillai Mahendran alias Satchi Master from the Batticaloa Prison, according to investigation reports and accompanied him on a motorcycle for the hit.

Thereafter, Satchi Master had shot Senathiraja in Batticaloa town on July 5 at around 9.15 a.m. Senathiraja succumbed to his injuries on July 13th. Soon after the murder, the LTTE launched a clinical assault on Karuna supporters in the east and in Colombo.

The investigations have also revealed that according to Senathiraja's colleague who was with him on a motorbike, the LTTE leader had said that the two persons approaching them on a bike appeared familiar just before they were shot.

The police in Batticaloa and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) are aware of the new developments, but The Sunday Leader learns that so far very little headway is being made in the investigation, as no one, including senior police officers are willing to provide details.

Prison guards and others with information on the incident have so far refused to give statements to the SLMM for fear of reprisals.

Satchi Master was murdered inside the Batticaloa prison by LTTE cadre Mahendran Pulidaran on July 15. Satchi Master was a former LTTE member who was expelled from the organisation for misappropriation of funds.

The LTTE had charged that he was functioning as the spokesperson for Karuna from within the jail before Satchi Master was gunned down. He was arrested on May 31 by the Kathankudy Police and remanded for possession of weapons.

He and two other Karuna supporters in the jail were provided with cooking facilities, phones, money and even weapons, according to evidence provided at the magisterial inquiry into the Satchi Master murder.

Senathiraja had summoned a prison guard to the LTTE office at Thamaraikerny and inquired about the privileges being extended to Satchi Master and others inside the prison four days before he was shot.

Pulidaran had later told investigators that he had shot Satchi Master because he felt betrayed by the Karuna defection. The 9mm pistol that was later recovered from the cell where the shooting took place is believed to have belonged to Satchi Master.

Police also recovered magazines and two hand grenades inside the cell. Pulidaran had frequented the cell to give Satchi Master head massages. Investigators also believe that the murder was a revenge killing for the assassination of Senathiraja.

The Senathiraja murder has been shrouded in controversy. Soon after the murder, family members privately confided that he was not transferred to a hospital with better facilities by the Tigers, despite recommendations by doctors.

Link between Karuna and military intelligence in killing ( )

A possible link between the Karuna faction and military intelligence in the murder of Ramalingam Padmaseelan alias Lt. Col. Senathiraja, the former Batticaloa political head of the LTTE has surfaced during investigations conducted in the east.

A military intelligence operative had picked up Kanapathipillai Mahendran alias Satchi Master from the Batticaloa Prison, according to investigation reports and accompanied him on a motorcycle for the hit.

Thereafter, Satchi Master had shot Senathiraja in Batticaloa town on July 5 at around 9.15 a.m. Senathiraja succumbed to his injuries on July 13th. Soon after the murder, the LTTE launched a clinical assault on Karuna supporters in the east and in Colombo.

The investigations have also revealed that according to Senathiraja's colleague who was with him on a motorbike, the LTTE leader had said that the two persons approaching them on a bike appeared familiar just before they were shot.

The police in Batticaloa and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) are aware of the new developments, but The Sunday Leader learns that so far very little headway is being made in the investigation, as no one, including senior police officers are willing to provide details.

Prison guards and others with information on the incident have so far refused to give statements to the SLMM for fear of reprisals.

Satchi Master was murdered inside the Batticaloa prison by LTTE cadre Mahendran Pulidaran on July 15. Satchi Master was a former LTTE member who was expelled from the organisation for misappropriation of funds.

The LTTE had charged that he was functioning as the spokesperson for Karuna from within the jail before Satchi Master was gunned down. He was arrested on May 31 by the Kathankudy Police and remanded for possession of weapons.

He and two other Karuna supporters in the jail were provided with cooking facilities, phones, money and even weapons, according to evidence provided at the magisterial inquiry into the Satchi Master murder.

Senathiraja had summoned a prison guard to the LTTE office at Thamaraikerny and inquired about the privileges being extended to Satchi Master and others inside the prison four days before he was shot.

Pulidaran had later told investigators that he had shot Satchi Master because he felt betrayed by the Karuna defection. The 9mm pistol that was later recovered from the cell where the shooting took place is believed to have belonged to Satchi Master.

Police also recovered magazines and two hand grenades inside the cell. Pulidaran had frequented the cell to give Satchi Master head massages. Investigators also believe that the murder was a revenge killing for the assassination of Senathiraja.

The Senathiraja murder has been shrouded in controversy. Soon after the murder, family members privately confided that he was not transferred to a hospital with better facilities by the Tigers, despite recommendations by doctors.

Sea Tigers attack SLN patrol - VoT [TamilNet, February 19, 1999 16:46 GMT]

(CORRECTION) The Voice of Tigers (VoT) said in its 8.00 a.m. news broadcast today that the Leopard commandos of the Sea Tigers attacked a Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) Special Forces Unit patrolling the Jaffna lagoon off Kilaly on Friday morning at 12.30 a.m..
An Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC) was captured in the attack, said the broadcast.
A 12.7 mm 85 type automatic anti-aircraft gun, SM .50 Browning M12 Machine Gun 01, PKLMG -03, T56 -02, CIS 40 mm Grenade launcher -01, Radar 01, Communications set 01, Night Vision Glass 02 and other military equipment were also captured, said the VoT.
The radio said that the Leopard Commandos of the Sea Tigers had recovered a decomposed body of a SLN Commando and cremated it.
The VoT's night transmission was not clear last night as the army interrupted it.
The Tigers had attacked SLN positions on the Kilaly shore as well but, according to the radio, casualties and damages sustained by the Navy in this attack are not known.
The VoT said that the Leopard unit that carried out the attack and suffered no casualties.
The Sri Lankan forces involved in the engagement are thought to be members of the navy's Special Boat Squadron, which has been trained by the US Navy's SEALs.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Security Forces Headquarters at Palaly in Jaffna issued a press note 10 minutes after the VoT broadcast that said, "Further to information on LTTE members' attack on the Naval detachment at Kilaly on February 18, one water jet which was damaged due to confrontation is to be sunk. Two naval radngs (ratings) were wounded and another is reported to be missing"
The Palaly SLA statement also said that two soldiers were injured when an anti-personnel mine blew up on them in Kokkuvil in Jaffna yesterday.
CORRECTION: It was reported earlier that the Tigers had sunk a Dvora Fast Attack Craft (FAC).

LTTE attack on Kilaly repulsed [TamilNet, April 20, 1999 10:33 GMT]

Sri Lankan security sources said that government forces have repulsed an attack by the Liberation Tigers on the Kilaly base, about 35 km. south of Jaffna, in the early hours of the morning today.
The sources said the Liberation Tigers came in about ten boats and launched an attack that lasted for more than three hours.
The troops did not suffer any casualties, they added.
The security sources also said that details of the damage that they inflicted on the LTTE are not yet available.
The jetty at Kilaly is under the command of the Special Boat Squadron (SBS), the elite special forces wing of the Sri Lanka SLN, modelled after the US Navy SEALS.

5 Naval personnel injured [TamilNet, April 15, 1998 23:59 GMT]

Five Special Boat Squadron (SBS) commandos in the Kilaly Navy camp were wounded in a mortar attack by the Liberation Tigers last night around 9.15 p.m. said SLA sources in Chavakachcheri. They said that the Tigers came in water jet craft (captured from the SLN in 1993) across the Kilaly lagoon.
The SLN retaliated with heavy mortar fire towards the Kilaly area. Casualties on the LTTE side are not known.
This is the third attack by the LTTE on the Kilaly SBS base in Kilaly this year.
The earlier attacks, according to the Liberation Tigers, had been carried out by their Leopard commando unit.

LTTE allays shipping fears [TamilNet, September 12, 1997 00:00 GMT]

TamilNet, September 12, 1997 00:00 GMT] On Thursday, the LTTE allayed international concern over its recent attack on a cargo ship. The Tigers said their destruction of the ship, the 'MV Cordiality', which had been hired by the Sri Lankan government, was intended to prevent the stripping of the Tamil people's mineral resources. The Tigers said that the attack should not be considered 'prejudicial to international trade or shipping'.
The LTTE said in a press communique yesterday that their troops had attacked and destroyed the Chinese-crewed, Panamanian registered cargo ship as it was being used to move Ilmenite ore from the (traditional Tamil) Pulmoddai area for sale abroad.
On 9 September, the 'MV Cordiality' was completing the loading of an estimated 15 million dollars worth of Ilmenite off the Pulmoddai coast, as Sri Lankan Special Forces troops and Sri Lankan navy gunboats provided protection.
LTTE commandos from the Leopard Brigade and Sea Tiger units launched an attack on the flotilla. Firing RPGs and heavy machine guns, the Sea Tiger boats punched through the Sri Lankan naval screen, allowing the Leopard commandos to board the cargo ship.
At least 3 Sri Lankan navy boats were sunk in the assault, according to the LTTE reports (which were privately confirmed by Sri Lankan officers). One navy boat was captured by the Sea Tigers.
The Tiger boarding party captured the cargo ship after bitter hand-to-hand fighting with Sri Lankan commandos on board. The Tigers had blasted the vessel with explosives.
At least 15 Sri Lankan commandos were killed in the furious fire-fight, along with some of the Chinese crew and locally hired labourers who got caught in the cross-fire on board. Most of the crew and hired hands jumped overboard, swimming to safety, but a handful are still unaccounted for.
The LTTE said they "deeply regret that these lives [of the labourers and crew] were lost in this manner", but said that "a war rages on the sea and on the land".
The Sri Lankan military claimed they had fought back and sunk several LTTE boats and killed an 'estimated' 25 Tigers. However, other reports said that the heavily armed Dvora-class craft of the SLN had fled the area, leaving the ship's defenders to fend for themselves. The LTTE said they suffered no casualties.

Pulmoddai is part of the traditional Tamil homelands, located between Mullaitivu and Trincomalee. Its mineral sands are particularly valuable (see box), making the region strategically important to the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE.
The Sri Lankan government has embarked on a strategic project to secure the area. A large Sinhala colony was established in the nearby Manal Aru region (since given a Sinhala name, Weli Oya) by driving out the Tamils living there. There is a significant Sri Lankan military presence in the Weli Oya area and in the villages around Pulmoddai.
The LTTE has persistently frustrated the Sri Lankan government's attempts to secure the Pulmoddai region. Tiger commandos launch repeated harassment raids in the area, hitting the heavily defended police stations and army patrols.
The Ilmenite is a valuable source of foreign revenue for the Sri Lankan government, and the LTTE have said they intend to prevent the 'plundering' of the Tamil region's wealth by the Sri Lankan government, particularly as the proceeds are being used to arm the predominantly Sinhalese Sri Lankan army.
The LTTE hit another cargo vessel, the 'MV Princess Wave' last August. A large explosion caused by a sea mine or an underwater charge ripped a hole in the vessel as it was loading Ilmenite of Pulmoddai.
The LTTE statement issued yesterday explained their reasons for the two attacks, and said that the Sri Lankan government had ignored the warning served by the first strike. The Tigers also said that the attack "should not be construed as an act of hostility directed towards any particular trade or shipping organisation".
The Tiger statement is clearly intended at blunting Sri Lankan government efforts to rope in the international community's support by projecting the LTTE as a threat to general shipping in the region.
LTTE operations in the proximity of Pulmoddai
28 January 96SLA camp is overrun and 14 soldiers killed.
14 February 96LTTE command detonated mine injures 9 SLA soldiers.
25 March 96SLA patrol is ambushed and 15 soldiers are killed.
09 August 96Sri Lankan hired cargo ship 'MV Princess Wave' is badly damaged by underwater blast.
09 October 96LTTE unit overruns a Sri Lankan police post, killing 5 armed policemen.
27 April 97SLA patrol is ambushed and 22 soldiers are killed, six wounded survive.
18 June 97SLA patrol is ambushed and 25 soldiers are killed.
09 September 97Sri Lankan hired cargo ship 'MV Cordiality' is destroyed and 15 soldiers killed.

P U L M O D D A I Pulmoddai has one of the richest deposits of Titanium ore in the world. The sands in the area contain ilmenite and rutile, raw materials for manufacturing Titanium Dioxide.
Almost 5 million tons of ilmenite are known to be in the region, which can theoretically be mined at the rate of 150,000 tons a year. In addition, rutile and zircon can be mined at the rates of 10,000 tons and 6,000 tons respectively.
However, in practice, Sri Lanka can only produce 50,000 tons of ilmenite and 3000 tons of rutile annually. 70,000 tons of crude zircon are exported, mainly as over 200,000 tons were stockpiled when the Sri Lankan government lost its ability to refine it when an LTTE assault cut off supplies of fresh water.
The port at Pulmoddai is said to be vulnerable to weather, and can be used by shipping only between April and October. Any foreign ships moving mineral sands have heavy Sri Lankan naval escort.
The Sri Lankan government's main customers for Ilmenite are Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha Ltd. (Japan), ACI (US), Derby & Co (British), Currumbin Minerals Ltd. (Australia), and Rare Earth's Ltd. (India's state-owned firm).

Clash in Jaffna Lagoon [TamilNet, December 31, 1999 15:07 GMT]

A Sri Lankan Naval boat was sunk and three other boats were damaged in a sea battle between the Liberation Tigers and a commando unit of the Sri Lanka (SLN) in the Jaffna Lagoon, around 9.30 a.m. yesterday morning, the Tamil Eelam Vaanoli, the Commercial Service of the VoT radio said this evening.
The radio said all members of the sunken water jet crew were also killed.
A black Tiger, identified as Capt. Arivarasan (Muthulingam Jaanakan of Jaffna), died in the battle, according to the radio.
The jetty at Kilaly, on the western coast of the Thenmaradchi, is under the command of the Special Boat Squadron (SBS), the elite special forces wing of the Sri Lanka Navy.

SLN boat destroyed in commando raid - Radio [TamilNet, February 26, 1998 23:59 GMT]

The Voice of Tigers (VoT) said this evening that the Sea wing of the Leopards special unit of the Liberation Tigers had destroyed a Water Jet and killed five soldiers in a commando raid on the SLN's jetty at Kilaly, in Jaffna late last night around 11.50 p.m.
The radio said that the Leopards had also burnt supply depot in the SLN base and damaged two Out Board Mootor fitted speed boats.
Two more water jets which are engaged in patrolling the Jaffna lagoon had withdrawn west to the Elephant Pass base according to the VoT.
The jetty at Kilaly is under the command of the Special Boat Squadron (SBS), the elite special forces wing of the Sri Lanka SLN, modelled after the US Navy SEALS. The SBS was raised after the PA government came to power.

Tigers attack Kilali [TamilNet, May 01, 2000 17:18 GMT]

The Sri Lanka army's Kilali base on the Jaffna lagoon's southeastern coast is being attacked by the Liberation Tigers said the Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio in its night news broadcast today.
The radio said that the Kilali SLA base is the Headquarters of the 52-3 Brigade. A unit of the Sri Lanka Navy's Special Boat Squadron (SBS), a unit of the SLA's 53 division commandos and a section of the 54 division which withdrew from the Elephant Pass base are stationed at Kilali garrison, according to the radio. (The SBS is trained by the US Navy Seals).
The VoT said that ten fighters of the LTTE were killed in the fighting for Pallai yesterday.

Fighting close to SLA garrisons [TamilNet, September 28, 2000 06:37 GMT]

Fighting close to SLA garrisons[TamilNet, September 28, 2000 06:37 GMT] Fighting raged close to the defence perimeters of the Sri Lanka army bases in Eluthumadduval and Kilali through the early hours of Thursday morning as troops of the Liberation Tigers that had overwhelmed several layers of the SLA's forward defence localities in this sector pressed on with their multi-pronged assault. The commanders of the SLA, Sri Lanka Air Force and Navy flew to Jaffna to co-ordinate efforts to re-organise defences and to regain some of the key forward defence localities captured by the Tigers Tuesday.
The forward defence zone of the main camps of SLA's 52-3 brigade in Eluthumadduval and Kilali had a depth of 2-3 kilometers, fortified by a string of bunkers, look out posts and minor camps, an army source in the north said.
Tiger troops have managed to breach this zone to its full depth in some key sectors, according to them.
The 52-3 brigade's camp at Kilali was beefed up with elements of the 54 division that were withdrawn from the Elephant Pass garrison in April this year and some Special Forces (SF) units of the SLA's elite 53 division.
Tigers fire 152mm artillery piece Photo:LTTE The Sri Lanka Navy's commando arm, the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) too has a base on the lagoon coast in Kilali. (The 53 division's troops are trained by US army Special Forces and the SBS is trained by US Navy SEALs)
The SLA's current area of control in the Thenmaradchi division of Jaffna is defended by the 52-3 camps and a main base at Kodikamam, a strategic junction straddling the A9 highway and the only supply route to this sector from the other army held parts of the peninsula.
The second supply route to the SLA controlled part of Thenmaradchi is through the Sarasalai junction which is immediately north of Chavakachcheri town connecting the A9 to the Jaffna town-Pt.Pedro road at Puttur junction.
Although the army claimed earlier in the week that this supply route has been recaptured from the Liberation Tigers, it is yet to open the road due to difficulties in clearing large mine fields and the threat posed by LTTE units operating in the hinterland.
The A9 is cut off between Jaffna town and the western environs of Chavakachcheri as the Tigers hold about 10 kilometers of the highway from Chemmani to Nunanvil west.
Sri Lankan army tanks in Thenmaradchi Photo:Reuters/Sri Lanka Army Handout Therefore the Kodikamam-Puloli (Pt.Pedro) road through Varani currently remains the only supply route open to the army fighting the Tiger offensive in the Kodikamam-Eluthumadduval sector (see map). Securing this route while fending off the LTTE attack on the 52-3 brigade the army's top priority now said SLA sources in Colombo.
The Main Supply Route (MSR) to the SLA's 52-5 brigade in Nagar Kovil is from Eluthumadduval which links the A9 highway to the old road on Jaffna's southeastern coast. Any serious threat to the SLA base at Eluthumadduval could disrupt this MSR too. (The old coastal road from Pt.Pedro to Nagar Kovil was considered unsafe for use as the 52-5's MSR due to LTTE infiltration in the interior lagoon)
The SLA, meanwhile, is unable to use its newly acquired Multi-Barrel Rocket launchers effectively to push back the attackers for fear of causing casualties among its own troops as the fighting is very close to and, in some places, inside the defence perimeters of its camps in Kilali and Eluthumadduval.
The problem is compounded by the fact that the battle zone is more than 50 kilometers from the location of the MBRL's, the effective range of which is about 35-40 kilometers. The MBRLs that were hurriedly purchased by the Sri Lankan government from Pakistan and Czechoslovakia in June this year are kept in fire bases in the northwestern sector of the Jaffna peninsula for safety. Artillery and air support could also cause casualties among own troops that are now engaged in close quarter battles with the LTTE on the Eluthumadduval-Kilali axis said military sources in Jaffna.
However, Army officers in Jaffna said that they are confident that despite the odds the SLA is now in a position to push back the LTTE.

Tigers interdict Kilali supply route [TamilNet, September 28, 2000 16:23 GMT]

The supply route to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Sri Lanka Navy base at Kilali from Eluthumadduval is unusable due to the fighting in the area sources in Jaffna said Thursday night. A Sri Lanka army official in Jaffna, however, said that Kilali is now linked to the A9 highway by an alternative road from Mirusuvil; and that the army and the SLN's Special Boat Squadron (SBS) are resisting assaults by the troops of the Liberation Tigers on their positions at Kilali.
He said that 118 soldiers were killed and 412 were wounded in the P-1, P-2 categories, meaning that the condition of the majority was serious.
Meanwhile, the TamilNet correspondent in Vadamaradchi east said that civilians attempting to leave the village of Amban, north of the SLA base in Nagar Kovil, were turned back by troops Thursday. He said that the LTTE and the SLA in Nagar Kovil continued to trade artillery fire through the day.
The SLA camp on the road between Eluthumadduval and Nagar Kovil has been isolated by LTTE troops that overwhelmed most of the army positions along this supply route sources said. But the military in Jaffna claimed that the coastal road from Pt.Pedro to the Nagar Kovil is open for supplies to the coastal garrison.
Sources in Amban said that the army camp on the road linking Nagar Kovil and Eluthumadduval is under heavy attack by LTTE troops that have advanced into the southern environs of this supply route.

US teams train Sri Lanka navy, army [TamilNet, August 04, 2002 11:30 GMT]

A team from the US Navy special forces, the SEALS, will provide combat training for Sri Lankan Navy commandos this month whilst a US Army team has completed a course for Sri Lanka Army troops, the state-owned Sunday Observer reported this week.
The course for the SLN from be held from August 5 to 24 at Hambantota and Uva Kuda-Oya, the Sunday Observer reported. The SEALs (named because they conduct operation from sea, air and land) will conduct a course on combat and sniper firing.
Twenty five Sri Lankan Navy personnel including officers have been selected to undergo the course, which will be an annual feature, defence sources told the paper.
The SLN’s commando force, the Special Boat Squadron (SBS), has largely been trained by the US Navy.
Meanwhile, soldiers from the SLA 53 Division have successfully completed a course in Colombo conducted by the US Army on psychological operations and civil affairs , the Sunday Observer reported.
The elite 53 Division was established under the guidance of the US Special Forces and operates under the latter’s tutelage. Comprising special forces commandos, an air mobile and a mechanized infantry unit, the 53 Division has spearheaded all major offensive operations against the Liberation Tigers.

The United Kingdom's Special Boat Squadrons

The Special Boat Service (SBS) is a naval special forces group. They are a branch of Great Britain's Royal Marines; and are considered one of the best naval special forces teams in the world. There is a minimum requirement of two years service in the Royal Marines before being eligable for SBS service.
Like many other teams, the SBS are proficient at demolitions, diving, and parachuting; unlike other teams, much of the above is done with the two-man Klepper canoe (one of the training events is a timed five mile run with a disassembled canoe, with each operator carrying about a 60 pound load).
The SBS are organized into at least three groups; C, M, and S Squadron. C Squadron is responsible for swimmer/canoe operations. M Squadron is the antiterrorist and shipboard operations. Within M Squadron is the small Black Group--the counter-terrorist team that uses heliborne assaults. S Squadron specializes in small water borne craft and minibsub insertions and operations.
The SBS use many weapons in their daily operations; many are common in other teams. Assault rifles include the Heckler and Koch MP-5 family and the M-16A2.
The Special Boat Service was formed originally during World War Two to satisfy the need for maritime special operations.
Following the war little need was seen for Special Operations, but the idea still had merit. Various teams were combined or shut down until all that remained was the Royal Marines "Combined Operations Beach and Boats Section" (COBBS). In 1948 there was another name change, to "Small Raids Wing of the Royal Marines Amphibious School" and a deployment to Palestine, to aid in the British blockade. Members were responsible for ordinance destruction and the removal of limpet mines planted by the fledgling state of Israel.
The Small Raids Wing name began to fade when the Soviet Union began to threaten the Allied occupation of Berlin. A new unit was drawn up as part of the Royal Navy Rhine Flotilla and was shortly named the 2 SBS. 3 SBS was formed in 1951 and the SRW school section at Eastney was renamed the Special Boat Wing later that year.
The SBS served during the Korean War as part of the UN forces defending South Korea after it was invaded. The SBS performed raids along the North Korean coast, attacking targets such as railways using their signature two-man canoes or from submarines like the USS Perch.
Squadrons of the SBS continued to see some action after the Korean War. In 1952 they conducted a survey or part of the Egyptian coastline in preparation for an evacuation of British citizens. Later, during the Suez crisis of 1956, 1 and 6 SBS were mobilized for potential action. 1 SBS was to cut any cables strung across the Suez canal to block ships and 6 SBS was mobilized to scout potential landing sites in Egypt, alhtough their mission was cancelled before they could deploy. Members of the SBS were also active in anti-guerrilla operations in Indonesia between 1961 and 1971 where they kept tabs on geurilla activity.
6 SBS was stationed in the Mediterranean sea to support NATO in the event that Soviet Submarines escaped from the Black Sea in time of War, but they also managed to survey coastlines for landings and gather intelligence. Later, they sent a detachment to Bahrain; this basing was made permanent in 1961 with the treat of an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. This team surveyed landing areas as well as spending time training Iran's SBS.
The SBS took part in a highly publicized mid-ocean drop when a bomb threat was called in on the Queen Elizabeth 2. Although the threat was proved to be a hoax, the quickness and effectiveness of the jumpMembers of the SBS took part in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. They were involved in the beginning days, taking part in amphibious landings on the Al-Faw Peninsula near the port of Umm Qasr. Later, teams were inserted into Northern Iraq to conduct reconnaissance and sabotage missions. One such group of around thirty to forty SBS members was dropped into position near Mosul where they split into individual teams. One team of ten operators was ambushed and their land rovers taken under fire by heavy weapons.