Wednesday, July 19, 2006

SLMM meets SLA soldier under LTTE captivity

Members of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) met with captive Lance Corporal Karunaratne at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday at the LTTE's Thenaham building in Karadiyanaaru, LTTE sources in Batticaloa said. Karunaratne was captured by the Liberation Tigers during a clandestine cross border incursion of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) into LTTE held territory on early morrning of 14 July.

Head of SLMM for Batticaloa district Sari Rask and his deputy attended the meeting.

Daya Mohan, LTTE political head of Batticaloa was present on behalf of the LTTE.

Mr Karunaratne told the SLMM members that SLA group entered the LTTE-held area under the orders of SLA commanders, and that the LTTE fighters attacked them first when their group advanced towards Vakaneri.

12 Sri Lankan troops, 4 Tiger fighters were killed during the encounter.


LTTE cadre killed in clash with SLA DPU in Trincomalee

LTTE cadres Wednesday morning around 6:00 a.m. thwarted an attempt by a group of soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) to enter into the LTTE held area through its forward defence line located in Eachchilampathu division, south of Trincomalee district, LTTE sources said.

SLA soldiers fled from the area leaving a live claymore mine and other weapons at the site.

They also took back those injured soldiers, LTTE sources said. It is not known if there were any casualties on the SLA side.

LTTE sources in Sampoor said one LTTE cadre Lieutenant Kuilan, (Thevananthan Vino of Anpuvallipuram), was killed in the encounter.


LTTE hands over bodies of 12 soldiers

Government yesterday appealed to the Scandinavian monitors to secure the release of a soldier held captive by the LTTE after Friday’s clash in which 12 soldiers were killed in the Vakaneri area in Batticaloa.

SLMM spokesman Thorfinnur Omarsson said the appeal had been conveyed to the LTTE to secure the release of Lance Corporal Wijeyapala Karunaratna, but no response was received till yesterday afternoon.

The appeal came after the LTTE yesterday handed over 12 bodies of soldiers at Chenkaladi in Batticaloa to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The bodies were then transported to the Valaichchenai hospital where post-mortems were conducted before they were handed over to the army.

The ICRC after taking possession of the soldier’s bodies had asked the LTTE cadres at Illupadicheni to give access to the injured soldier, allowing Dr. Gianluca Russo of the Italian Red Cross who was part of the ICRC team to check the medical condition of the wounded soldier. LTTE representatives responded that they would need approval from their leaders to allow access for the ICRC doctor.

LTTE Batticoloa district political wing leader Daya Mohan, however, said the ICRC might be allowed such access soon. The Military says the soldiers were killed during search and route clearing patrol in the government-controlled Vakaneri area, but the LTTE claimed they had entered five kilometres into an LTTE-controlled area.

Meanwhile SLMM chief Ulf Henricsson yesterday met LTTE political wing leader S.P.Thamilselvan in Kilinochchi and took up the issue about the soldier’s release.

The LTTE lodged a strong protest with the SLMM, complaining about alleged infiltration by the army into the rebel-held areas.


Home guards to the fore by Chandani Kirinde

Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera who was appointed Director General of the 30,000 strong Home Guard Force (HGF) in April this year has taken measures to recruit, train, equip and deploy additional home guards in areas vulnerable to LTTE attacks, particularly after the Kebitigollewa bus massacre. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he spoke on the importance of protecting the villagers and said the bunker line to protect them would become a reality in the coming weeks. Excerpts:

Q:What is the background to the creation of the home guard unit?

A:The unit was created in 1985 to protect villages from LTTE attacks because at that time the army was unable to guard every village. The government gave weapons to selected youth in each village. Initially there was no payment involved neither did they have uniforms. Gradually the demand for their services grew and they were paid and were also given uniforms.

Q: Can you comment on your appointment as the Director General of the Home Guard Force?

A:After the ceasefire agreement when the situation was relatively peaceful, the importance of the home guard unit decreased and these people found other jobs. This year with the escalation in violence, villages are once again facing the threat of LTTE attacks. In the light of this the government wanted to re-organise the Home Guard Force. I was appointed in April by the President as DG in addition to my duties as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Navy.

Q: What have been your main tasks since taking up this appointment?

A:During the first week, I did a study of more than 400 villages that are under threat, the exact number of home guards deployed in each village and also the minimum number required to protect each village in keeping with the recommendations of the army. I also recruited 5000 people from the affected areas. They underwent a two week training programme at Army and Special Task Force (STF) camps before being deployed.

Q: On what basis were they deployed?

A:They were deployed according to specifications of the Army and the STF .We have also begun issuing weapons to selected civilians on the recommendation of the police. This is meant as a deterrent against attacks on the homes of villagers.

Q: What kind of training has been given to the home guards?

A:They have been trained in the use of T- 56 automatic rifles, shot guns and repeater guns. They have also been given training in field craft and the general law. But the training doesn’t stop there. There are training teams that will visit each village regularly to continue training them as well as motivating them.

Q: What are the most vulnerable areas?

A:The Ampara district, parts of Moneragala, Trincomalee, Kantalai, Vavuniya and parts of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Puttlam. This is the threatened belt.

Q: Since the Kebitigollewa tragedy, the villagers are refusing to return to their homes till the bunker line is put in place to secure their villages. Can you comment?

A:These villagers need not be afraid to return to their homes once the Forward Defence Line (FDL) is established in the coming weeks. The work on the bunker line will also start very soon.

Q: How bad is the threat to the areas excluding Kebitigollewa?

A:I believe the situation is now under control. The required number of men will be trained and deployed in the villages and it will be their responsibility to protect the villagers. We have selected youth from their own villages because when they have to protect their own kith and kin they would do a better job than a person from outside. It is the responsibility of the army and the STF to supervise them. Responsible residents in the village including priests, retired teachers should also be vigilant of their activities and report to me if there are any lapses on the part of the home guards.

Q: How important is the Home Guard Unit for the security of the country?

A:I believe it is important as these threatened villages are a major component of the national security. If these villagers leave their homes and head south it could destabilise the whole country. So these villages have to be protected and the Home Guard Force is there to do just that. This is why the unit must be further strengthened. It is also the responsibility of every citizen in the country to ensure the security of these people by way of contributing in whatever way they can.

Q: Any future plans for the Home Guard Unit?

A: I think the government has plans to make it a permanent force. Now it is an auxiliary force .


Little light at the end of the tunnel by Chandani Kirinde and Nalaka Nonis

One month after the Kebitigollewa tragedy, The Sunday Times goes back...

The sounds of wailing have died down in the villages around Kebitigollewa. A few plastic wreaths lie on top of the mass grave, where 67 people lie buried. The place where the jam-packed commuter passenger bus was hit by the explosion shows no signs of the deadly incident that snuffed out so many lives in a few seconds. What remains today are abandoned homes, deserted roads and closed schools. Hundreds of villagers fled their homes to take refuge in safer environs with only a few of the brave choosing to stay behind.

This is the sad plight of the villagers of Indigollewa, Yakawewa, Halmillawetiya, Thalgahawewa, Meegaswewa and Kalugahawewa for whom the nightmare of that tragic day is far from over. While government authorities as well as the military and police are trying to persuade the villagers to return to their homes, they are far from reassured.

Today the area around the Kebitigollewa town is dotted with white tents to which mainly women and children have been confined while the majority of men who are employed in the home guard force are away on duty. The last time they fled their villages after a terrorist attack in the area in 1995, they remained displaced for over five years and it was only after the 2002 February Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) that many of the villagers returned home.

J.Dhanapala of Halmillawetiya is one among the few still staying on in his village since that fateful day. Of the 86 families that resided there, only nine remain.” Seven people from our village died, some of who were my relatives. But I was born here and I have lived here thorough all the years of the conflict and I will not go now,” a defiant Mr.Dhanapala said.

The terrorist attack has struck a severe blow to the economic conditions of the villagers many of whom are farmers. “We have no income at all since the attack. We cannot go to our paddy fields, we cannot go into the jungle to collect bees honey or sand, both of which gave us a good income. We are surviving on what we had collected before the attack,” he said.

Several weeks before the attack on the bus, two of the villagers were shot dead by the LTTE and some of them had also seen foot prints which they believed belonged to LTTE cadres. “We asked for additional security and for the road to be cleared but nothing was done till the attack on the bus,” he lamented.

The tragedy has affected the young and old alike. One and half month old Tharushi Kavinda was just 15 days old when the incident occurred. Blissfully unaware of the cruel goings on around her, Tharushi now sleeps on the ground with a tent to shelter her from the scorching sun. Her mother Swarnamala and grandmother are with her while her father who is a home guard is on duty in the village at Yakawewa which is now abandoned expect for policemen and home guards who have been assigned there on duty.
“The security is inadequate for us to return to the village. There are no buses plying on the road and if a child falls sick, there is no way for us to come to the Kebitigollewa town after dark,” Swarnamala said.

A single CTB bus started plying on the road last Wednesday, nearly a month after the attack, but many of the villagers are scared to travel on the same route although the sides of the road have been cleared by the army who also carry out a route clearing operations each morning.

Today about 500 families live in five temporary shelters- including tents and a temple premise-close to the Kebitigollewa town.Less than 100 families remain in the six villages that were affected. Many have also moved into homes of relatives in safer areas.

An official of the Divisional Secretariat in Kebitigollewa said the displaced are being provided with dry rations and security. However many of the displaced were worried that the lack of sanitary facilities and water shortage could lead to health hazzards if they had to stay in the tents for a long time.

The Kebitigollewa Madya Maha Vidyalaya which was transformed into a massive funeral parlour to place the coffins of the bus attack victims is also slowly returning to normality with students trickling back to school since last Wednesday.

Two students of the school were among those killed in the blast while another was injured. The displaced villagers who were staying in the school since the tragedy were last week moved into tents and other temporary shelters. The school reopened fully last Wednesday but the authorities are still facing the problem of accommodating about 400 additional students from Halmillawetiya School that closed after the attack.

Kebitigollewa MMV principal W.S.Seneviratna said the displaced students would be admitted to the school but additional class rooms would be needed to accommodate them. “ We have adequate staff but we need more room for these students. We have about 50 students in each class at present so we cannot take in anymore,” Mr.Seveviratne said. He added that the Chief Minister of the North Central Province Bertie Premalal Dissanayake who visited the school on Wednesday had assured that a temporary building would be put up within two weeks to accommodate the displaced children.

The villagers say if they are to return to their homes, a bunker line should be established along the area between the North Central Province and Mullaitivu- the area from where the terrorists infiltrate these villages. Director General of the Home Guard Force Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera said this would become a reality soon with the forward defense line in place and the strengthening of the home guard units.

So while the government grapples with the task of reassuring the villagers to get them to return to their homes, the villagers watch and wait to see if the promises of strengthening security becomes a reality so that they can go back home.


Defeat to separatism: the Yan Oya basin theory by Sumedha

The aim of the Tamil separatist groups, including the LTTE, is to establish a separate state of Eelam by merging the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Once this proposed state of Eelam is established the conflict would be continued for the purpose of extending its territory in the first instance to the hill country and subsequently to other parts of Sri Lanka. The ultimate objective would be to establish a country of their own for the 118 million Tamil population in the world by conquering the Sinhala motherland and annihilating its 14 million Sinhala population.

To achieve their first aim of linking the northern province with the eastern province of Sri Lanka, a continuous land mass inhabited by Tamils must be established. This aim can never be achieved unless and until the Yan Oya basin is ethnically cleansed by driving away its Sinhala population to the southern parts of the country. Part of Mullaitivu,Vavuniya, Anuradhapura and Trincomalee districts together form the Yan Oya basin. It was a granary of the ancient Sinhala people during the reign of both King Mahasen and King Maha Parakramabahu. Rice produced from its fertile fields which were irrigated by major tanks such as Padaviya and Wahalkada was exported to China from the harbour at Puhulmotte, which is now referred to as Pulmudai.

The aim of the separatist terrorists next was to bring pressure on the Sinhala population by attacking the border Sinhala villages of this basin and through terrorism to create an exodus of the Sinhala people to the southern parts of the country. To counter this the Army was deployed by the government for the protection of the Sinhala villages in this basin. Yan Oya basin thus became the gateway to Eelam and had to be defended if separatism was to be defeated. If this basin falls into the hands of separatist terrorists the north will be merged with the east and with Trincomalee as the capital of Eelam, the process of establishing the new state would be completed.

The importance of the Yan Oya basin can never be over emphasized, but sadly it seems that both the past UNP government and the present PA government have failed to understand the importance of this basin to protect the unity and territorial integrity of our motherland. No suitable strategy has been evolved to date for the defence of this all important basin. The situation has now deteriorated to such an extent that there is a regular exodus of its Sinhala population daily to the safer southern parts of the country as a result of intensified LTTE threats and attacks in this basin.

On October 25, 1995, a comprehensive report predicting imminent attacks on Sinhala villages bordering the Kebethigollewa-Padaviya road was forwarded to the General Officer Commanding the Second Division of the Army. In this report it was pointed out that several Sinhalese living in these villages had been abducted by the LTTE and that the LTTE would gather information from those who had been abducted to stage attacks on these Sinhala villages.

As a precautionary measure to prevent such attacks this report recommended the immediate construction of a bunker line to cover the gap of fourteen kilometres that existed between the forward defence line of Weli Oya and Vavuniya. It was suggested that this bunker line be started from Padavi Parakramapura in the Anuradhapura district and extended to Periyapuliyalankulam in the Vavuniya district. The construction of 280 bunkers forward of an abandoned road mutually supporting each other and dominating a well laid out minefield in front of the bunker line would have effectively provided adequate defence to bridge the gap through which the terrorists were constantly staging attacks deep into the Kebethigollewa area in the Anuradhapura district.

The initiator of this report was informed that the proposal had been submitted through the Commander of the Army to the Deputy Minister of Defence for necessary action. The gap was however never sealed and since then many Sinhala villages have been attacked as predicted in the report. More than twenty Sinhala villages in the Kebethigollewa divisional secretariat area have been abandoned since and 35% of its population has been reduced to refugee status. More than one hundred Army, Police and civilians have been killed since and many more wounded by LTTE raids conducted through this gap in the forward defence line.

The recent attack on three armoured vehicles killing twelve soldiers and causing a substantial loss in military equipment, the value of which would far exceed the construction cost of the proposed bunker line of fourteen kilometres, indicates the adverse results of not using common sense. The attack on the Kanugahawewa police post on January 18, 1997 during which the LTTE killed twenty one policemen and two homeguards and injured another eighteen policemen could also have been avoided if this bunker line had been constructed as suggested in the said report.

It is also common sense that the closest route to Kandy from Colombo is through Kegalle and not through Kurunegala. Without heeding to common sense and constructing fourteen kilometres of bunker line to bridge this gap, work has begun on the construction of a 21 kilometre bunker line for the same purpose. The tremendous advantages of the bunker line proposed in the report has been totally overlooked due to lack of common sense. One such advantage is that it would have enabled the use of manpower and defence material in the existing bunker line from Periyapuliyalankulam to Kuda Katchikudiya which is seven kilometres in extent that would become redundant with the establishment of the proposed bunker line from Periyapuliyalankulam to Padavi Parakramapura. Therefore man-power and defence stores would have to be found only for seven kilometres as opposed to thrice that requirement for the bunker line now under construction.

With the increase in distance from 14 kilometres to 21 kilometres, a longer period of time would be required to seal the gap and once completed would provide a longer frontage for possible LTTE attacks. The proposed new bunker line will also be hugging some populated villages and many abandoned villages. If an attack is staged on the bunker line by the LTTE, innocent civilians in these villages may be caught up in the crossfire. This new bunker line under construction from Kuda Katchikudiya in the Vavuniya district to Morakewa in the Anuradhapura district will not therefore induce the Sinhala population who have left Ralapanawa, Kelepuliyan-kulama, Kunchuttuwa, Vihara Halmillewa, Halmillewatiya, Dutuwewa, Yakawewa, Indigollewa, Kanugahawewa, Kele Nikawewa, Thalgas-wewa, Maha Nikawewa and Morakewa to return to their homes as they would fear to live close to the new bunker line anticipating possible LTTE attacks. All these abandoned villages could however be resettled if the bunker line is established from Padavi Parakkramapura to Periya-puliyalankulam.

The establishment of the bunker line from Padavi Parakkramapura to Periya-puliyalankulam will make the main supply route to Padaviya perfectly safe from possible attacks by terrorists. It would also enable the route from Medawachchiya to Kebethi-gollewa to be used without fear once more. The road from Kebethigollewa to Vavuniya could also be reopened for safe use.

If, however, the situation that now prevails is allowed to continue unabated it will result in a shortage of essential commmodities in the interior areas of the Yan Oya basin very soon as many lorries that transport these items do not go there any longer due to the risk involved. There is also the danger of buses and other forms of transport being attacked on this insecure road. When free movement is not possible to this area both for people and essential commodities the exodus of the population out of this inaccessible area in search of safer habitats in the south is inevitable.

This article has been written to awaken the common sense of those responsible for the security of our motherland to correct mistakes that have resulted in the loss of valuable life and equipment and with a view to reversing the situation even at this late stage by evolving a sensible strategy to provide adequate security for this all important Yan Oya basin and thereby to defeat the aims and objectives of the separatist terrorists who are systematically engaged in a process of ethnic cleansing in this area.

It is the people who live and work in these areas that can best see the imminent future dangers to this area. The author of this article has lived in more than 50 LTTE affected villages with these innocent people in their humble dwellings and with the wealth of information gathered from this exercise is making these facts available to those who are in authority with the sincere hope of receiving a positive response.


Could Kebitigollewa have been averted? by Lt. Col. A.S. Amarasekera

It’s not too late to establish the FDL suggested way back in 1995 and protect these villages.

The Sinhala villages in the Kebitigollewa divisional secretariat area first came under LTTE threat during the Eelam war II. These threats intensified and several villages were attacked around 1990.

Kelebogahawewa, Konwewa and Veherawewa in the Padaviya divisional secretariat area were the northern most villages of the Anuradhapura district, bordering the Vavuniya district. These were the first to be attacked by the LTTE during the Eelam war II, with several innocent villagers being hacked to death. These threats and attacks extended southwards and many villages such as Mahakollewa, Kudakollewa, Siyambalagaswewa, Nambakadawewa, Nelligollakadawewa, Hammillapotanawewa, Hettigamawewa, Walalubindawewa, Kuda Hettiagamawewa, Manewa, Nikawewa, Kandagahawewa, Meneriwewa, Maha Etambagaskada and Indigollewa were abandoned.

In 1993, villages such as Dikwewa, Yakawewa, Maha Kanugahawewa, Palu Hammillewa, Halmillawetiya, Puliyankulama, Kongollewa, Maha Kandigala, Kuda Relapanawa, Kuda Kandigala, Maha Relapanawa, Maha Halmillewa, Kuda Halmillewa and Viharahalmillewa came under LTTE threat. Even Kunchuttuwa, Olugaswewa and Kele Puliyankulama, Sinhala villages on the Kebitigollewa-Vavuniya main road, faced the threat.

Many Sinhala families, therefore, moved into camps put up for internally displaced persons (IDPs) close to the Kebitigollewa town.

Around 1995, Talgahawewa, Maha Nikawewa, Morakewa, Herath Hammillewa and Tammannewa were attacked and several villagers massacred by the LTTE. The main road from Kebitigollewa to Padaviya was under threat. To make this main road safe, a bunker line was constructed from Kebitigollewa to Bogashandiya, a distance of about 25 kilometres.

However, the Jaya Sikuru Operation of 1997 resulted in the establishment of a forward defence line from Kanagarayankulam to Nedunkeni and all the villages south of this line were rendered safe from LTTE threats and attacks. The people who were living in camps returned to their villages. Even the villages of Kele Bogahawewa, Konwewa and Veherawewa in the Padaviya divisional secretariat area were resettled.

With the collapse of the forward defence line from Kanagarayankulam to Nedunkeni in November 1999, the Sri Lanka Army requested the villagers of Kele Bogahawewa, Konwewa, Veherawewa and Kambilliyawa to withdraw to Padavi Parakramapura and these villages were abandoned once more. Thus a situation was once again created wherein the LTTE was able to threaten and attack all these villages. However, due to the so-called Ceasefire Agreement of 2002, the LTTE refrained from attacking the villages in the Kebitigollewa area.

These villages came under LTTE threats and attacks once more in May 2006. The June 15 claymore mine attack that claimed the lives of 67 innocent civilians travelling in a bus, has shown the imperative need to prevent further LTTE attacks.

The lack of security in these villages in the Anuradhapura district — far south of the so-called LTTE controlled area — has to be addressed without further delay. These villages are terrorized by small LTTE gangs that are able to infiltrate this area due to the absence of a forward defence line between Padavi Parakramapura in the Anuradhapura district and Mahakachchakodiya in the Vavuniya district.

The present police posts that are south of the villages along the Kebitigollewa-Madukanda road or the bunker line along the Kebitigollewa-Bogaswewa road that has been constructed east of the villages, are of little use to prevent any LTTE infiltration, let alone protecting the villages from threats and attacks. The maximum these police posts or the present bunker line is able to do is to give some form of protection to the road by first clearing the road each morning and then stationing pickets to prevent possible claymore mine attacks.

A comprehensive project proposal was submitted recently to the Defence Secretary to establish a 14-mile forward defence line between Pirappammaduwa and Buddhangala. The police personnel and home guards now deployed to protect the eight-mile Madukanda-Kele Puliyankuluma stretch and the 15-mile Kebitigollewa-Bogashandiya stretch could be re-deployed to meet the manpower requirement of the new forward defence line.

Since the suggested forward defence line will traverse a distance of only 3.5 miles in the Vavuniya district, which also happens to be in the Vavuniya South Sinhala divisional secretariat area, with the balance distance of 10.5 miles in the Anuradhapura district, there is no reason for the non-implementation of this defence line, as it is well within the government-controlled area. Such a defence line will not only give security to the villages now threatened but will also make it possible to resettle people in the villages that have been abandoned. It will also make it difficult, if not impossible, for LTTE terrorists to use a land route from the Mullaitivu district to the Trincomalee district through the Anuradhapura district.

In May 1995 when I was the Officer Commanding Troops in Anuradhapura , I submitted a letter to the Divisional Commander of the Second Division, Sri Lanka Army then headquartered at Ranasevapura, Anuradhapura. The relevant part of that letter is reproduced elsewhere.

Probably, due to the lack of resources, my suggestions were not implemented. I was subsequently appointed the Manpower Mobilization and Disaster Relief Coordinator in the Second Division. One of my duties was to ensure that there was no exodus southwards of people from the villages under threat. By October 1995, the situation was becoming critical in the villages of Kebitigollewa. Many villages had been abandoned and there was a large camp for IDPs in the Kebitigollewa town.

On October 25, 1995, I wrote my second letter in Sinhala to the Divisional Commander, recommending once more the establishment of the forward defence line between Periyapuliyalankulam and Padavi Parakramapura. I went to the extent of obtaining 2,000 roofing sheets from a Sinhala youth organization in Abu Dhabi and these were donated to the Sri Lanka Army to be utilized for the construction of the bunker line, but nothing happened. I still have in my possession a signal received from the Divisional Command dated November 10, 1995, wherein it is stated in Sinhala that my letter of October 25, 1995, had been received and that my ideas and suggestions had been forwarded through the Army Commander to the Deputy Minister of Defence.

If my suggestion had received the necessary attention and the forward defence line had been established then, or even subsequently after the forward defence line between Kanagarayankulam and Nedunkeni collapsed, many valuable lives could have been saved.

Learning from the past mistakes of political leaders, I sincerely hope the Defence Secretary will be able to persuade the present political leadership to seriously consider the proposal submitted by me to alleviate the plight of the innocent people living in these Sinhala villages which are under LTTE threat, without further delay.

Excerpts from the letter to the Divisional commander

Defence of border villages

The three cardinal principles of defence — All-round defence, Mutual support and Defence in depth — were incorporated for the first time by 2VIR troops at Ulukkulama, where bunkers were constructed every 50 metres with each providing its own all-round defence and mutually supporting each other.

Defence in depth was achieved by setting up a Platoon Headquarters at a considerable distance in depth followed by the Company Headquarters and then a Battalion Headquarters. This concept is now followed from Kudakachchikudiya to Tantirimale, a distance of 35 to 40 miles with around 750 to 800 bunkers. This form of defence has proved successful over three years, reducing troop casualties to a bare minimum and causing no casualties among the civilian population.

This, however, is a troop intensive method, which if extended from Periyapuliyalankulam in the Vavuniya district to Padavi Parakramapura in the Anuradhapura district, covering a distance of about 10 miles, would provide a complete defence to numerous Sinhala villages in the Kebitigollewa division. Six miles of the ten miles could be manned by relocating the bunkers from Periyapuliyalankulam to Kuda Kathcchikudiya leaving about 80 more new bunkers requiring about 500 troops. The advantage of such an action would be making the police posts at Kele Puliyankulama, Puduwa and Dutuwewa redundant, together with the detachment at Indigollewa and Etambagaskada. The police stations at Kebitigollewa and Padaviya will also be safe from possible attacks. Furthermore, it will also make the main supply route to Padaviya safe for use. The road from Vavuniya to Kebitigollewa could also be made usable.

Due to non-availability of troops this proven bunker line method has been substituted by locating police posts or army detachments in the border villages of Kebitigollewa, Padaviya, Horowupotana and Pemaduwa divisional secretariat areas of the Anuradhapura district for the purpose of providing village security.
While the detachments or police posts thus established are able to provide for themselves all-round defence, through the construction of mutually supporting bunkers around the established camp, defence in depth and mutual support from the closest reinforcement point have always been lacking, either due to non-availability of adequate resources or the distance involved.

This point was well demonstrated when Kele Puliyankulama was attacked on May 10, 1995. The closest point of reinforcement, the Kebitigollewa police station six miles away was unable to rush reinforcements in time to avoid disaster.

The detachments or police posts that are located in such isolation are targets inviting enemy attacks. As a result of seeking administrative advantages and camp comforts, lives have been lost in many of these isolated detachments and police posts. This trend will continue, unless alternative methods are adopted. When the police post or detachment is overrun, it creates fear in the minds of villagers and forces them to abandon their villages and move southwards.

The alternative to living in isolated police posts or army detachments is for the personnel to form independent mobile groups that could live under canvas tents which could be moved from location to location. This type of group could be moved into border villages where while half perform duties as buddy pairs in fortified bunkers, the other half could rest in the canvas tents, which could be relocated from time to time thus never offering a fixed target to the enemy.

The resting troops could reinforce the troops on duty in the event of attack. This method will make the enemy who uses concentration of force to achieve success vulnerable as the resting reinforcements could attack the enemy concentration rapidly.

The police or home guards must also be trained by attaching them to army buddy pairs thus building confidence in them to face enemy threats and attacks from well fortified bunkers at the outer perimeter of each village. As the police and home guards gain enough confidence the army could be withdrawn to be relocated forward of the village in the jungle to kill the enemy before they approach the village. In such a deployment the troops will work as buddy trios, with the army groups never permanently located at a jungle base, but shifting their location from time to time. This action will confuse the enemy and enable the troops to dominate the jungle, forward of the border village.

These suggestions if implemented will contribute towards saving valuable life and equipment. I, therefore, sincerely hope they will receive your consideration with a view for future implementation.


Excerpts from the letter to the Divisional commander