Tuesday, May 08, 2007

International help to locate officer

Sri Lanka government has sought international assistance to locate the missing Intelligence Officer who was attached to Sri Lankan Embassy in Indonesia.

Captain Mohamed Nilam, who was an intelligence official at the Sri Lankan embassy in Jakarta, has disappeared with his wife and children before termination of his term, government said.

Defence spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told Sandesaya that Captain Nilam had gone missing two weeks before his term expired.

He said the Sri Lankan government had taken the issue on diplomatic level and informed security authorities in Indonesia.

As Captain Nilam has disappeared with his wife and children, the minister was asked whether the Sri Lankan government consider the officer had vacated his post.

"It seems that he has acted on an agenda of his own", Minister Rambukwella replied.

When told that Captain Nilam had been an LTTE target and it was the responsibility of the government to extend his term for security reasons, the minister said it was not only officer Nilam but there are also other officers whose security had to be ensured by the government.


Karuna and Pillaiyan Factions of TMVP Clash in East

Interenecine clashes among and within Tamil armed groups is not a new development. The latest group to be afflicted in this respect is the Tamil Makkal Viduthalaip Puligal (TMVP). Bitter rivalry has ensued between the TMVP’s “national leader” Karuna Amman and its ” supreme military commander” Pillaiyaan. TMVP factions aligned to the leader and commander have clashed in the East.

[In 2004]

In a typical example of the proverbial Tamil saying about pinching the baby and rocking the cradle the Sri Lankan military establishment is now trying to pacify Karuna and Pillaiyaan and evolve a working relationship between both factions. Military intelligence operatives “handling” the TMVP initially practised “divide and rule” tactics and covertly engineered a feud. Now they are overtly engaged in promoting peace. There is however a lurking fear that the split may have gone too far to a stage where patching up may not be possible.

Pillaiyaan was at one time a trusted, loyal disciple of Karuna. When the TMVP leader went abroad to escape assassination squads of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) it was Pillaiyaan and other deputies who held the fort locally. Even when Karuna was holed up at Panagoda camp for security reasons it was Pillaiyaan and others who remained active in the East and Polonnaruwa district.

Ever since Karuna came under complete control of Sri Lankan intelligence the TMVP is being directed by intelligence operatives. Karuna was more like a brand name and had very little control over his group in actual terms. The group had called itself TEMVP (Tamil Eelam Makkal Viduthalaip Puligal ) earlier. But Karuna’s handlers got him to remove the “Eelam” out as it smacked of separatism.

The Karuna faction known as TMVP was not allowed to function as one whole entity. Different commanders like Sinnathamby, Riyaseelan, Mangalan master, Iniyabharathy, Markan etc were given different spheres of influence and were responsible to different handlers. Pillaiyaan was like a “first among equals” among them. Most of the instructions from military intelligence hierarchy to the TMVP was relayed through Pillaiyaan. He was also the “communication channel” between Karuna and the other commanders. In the process Pillaiyaan self - styled himself as supreme commander.

It was Pillaiyaan who helped out with regular supply of cash to Karuna and his family while abroad. Apparently when the LTTE killed eight of Karuna’s men at Kottawa, Karuna lost his ‘treasurer Kuganesan too. Kugan had invested Karuna’s money in different place known only to himself.. All that was lost after Kuganesan was killed.

It was then that Pillaiyaan stepped in and started his taxation cum abduction for ransom racket. Pillaiyaan supplied Karuna with money regularly. He also encouraged a personality cult around Karuna within the TMVP.

The Sri Lankan intelligence operatives were not very happy at the Karuna - Pillaiyaan relationship. They preferred to engineer rivalry and factionalism within TMVP ranks and keep the running dogs of (Sinhala) imperialism on separate leashes. It was also felt that both leader and commander had to be given “knocks” and brought down a peg or two.

In the case of Pillaiyaan his handlers resented the fact that he was running a flourishing extortion racket where full details were not being divulged. While some of the abductions and extortion schemes were run with full knowledge of the handlers there were many other acts being done without their knowledge. Pillaiyaan was masterminding a racket where crores of rupees were filling his coffers. So Pillaiyaan was to be taught a lesson.

As far as Karuna was concerned the military establishment was very pleased with his performance. The sore point however was Karuna’s opposition to the East being fragmented. He also wanted some political power and insisting that an interim administrative council be set up for the entire province and be handed over to him. This was not to the liking of Karuna’s masters who wanted to reduce his clout too.

The best way to teach both leader and commander a lesson was to foster enmity between both.. An intra - TMVP feud would weaken both and enable handlers to exert greater authority over both factions.

A “gentleman” by the name of Krishnan was brought down to Sri Lanka for the purpose.”London” Krishnan whose full name is Krishnapillai is a native of Pungudutheevu in Jaffna. He was a federal party youth activist who went abroad to London in the early seventies. He played a prominent role in organizing and participating at the demonstration at a world cup match in 1975 when Tamil youths protesting Sri Lankan “oppression” invaded the grounds and fell flat on the pitch.

Krishnan later became an overseas activist of the original undivided LTTE. He was largely instrumental in wooing Anton Ballasingham into LTTE folds. When the LTTE split in 1980 Krishnan teamed up with Umamaheswaran and helped form the Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE). He was expelled from the PLOTE in 1986 for allegedly embezzling funds collected abroad. When Paranthan Rajan broke away from PLOTE and formed Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front (ENDLF) in 1987 Krishnan joined it.
Krishnan later dropped out of ENDLF and became a loner. He was approached by Sri Lankan intelligence in the nineties and has been of great service to them since then.Krishnan had established close rapport with Karuna on instructions from Sri Lankan intelligence.

Colombo was quite unhappy during Karunas short - lived honeymoon with the ENDLF. It was Krishnan who succeeded in breaking up that alliance on the request of Sri Lankan intelligence. Now he was asked to promote enmity between Karuna and Pillaiyaan. Krishnan came down to Colombo and worked on Karuna’s ego, insecurity and lurking jealousy.He also fired Karuna up over Pillaiyaan’s ill - gotten cash. This succeeded to a great extent and soon Karuna and Pillaiyaan were arguing on the telephone about. finances.

Karuna ordered Pillaiyaan to turn over all the money in his possession and submit accounts.Pillaiyaan decided to jump the gun and sent a killer squad to assassinate Iniyabharathy in Batticaloa.Bharaty a Karuna loyalist had been asked by his leader to collect the money and accounts from Pillaiyaan. Iniyabharathy who is implicated in the abduction and murder of “Taraki” Sivaram went up the roof and escaped death.Pillaiyaan also sent killers to bump off Krishnan. But Krishnan had already checked out from the Colombo hotel where he was staying.

With these acts the split came out in the open. Factions began forming around both Karuna and Pillaiyaan. People like Sinnathamby, Iniyabharathi, Riyaseelan, Jeyathaan, Santhiveli Maamaa,Thileepan, Mahilan etc were with Karuna. People like Sinthujan, Sitha master,Markan, Thooyavan, Seelan , Sasi etc were with Pillaiyaan. People like TMVP spokesman Azad Moulana and Mangalan master are neutral.Clashes between both factions began occurring.

Soon cadres loyal to Pillaiyaan began fleeing Batticaloa - Amparai districts to Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee districts. Karuna loyalists began entrenching themselves in Battiicaloa. With areas like Karadiyanaaru and Kokkatticholai coming under army control TMVP cadres loyal to Karuna began moving there in large numbers. Most TMVP offices in the littoral became depleted in personnel.

It appears that the rank and file in the security forces stationed in the East are sympathetic towards Pillaiyaan. This is because it was Pillaiyaan who interacted with them at grass roots level. Also many of the “hela jathika’ Types in Trinco and Polonnaruwa are also partial towards Pillaiyaan. These elements have played a crucial role in sustaining the TMVP.

The military and defence ministry hierarchies favour Karuna at this juncture. They are pleased with the input he provided in the Vaaharai and Paduvaankarai military offensives. They need his expetise in the battles to come in the Wanni too. Karuna was successful in enticing Jeyathaan and some others from the LTTE into TMVP.Also Karuna is now a brand name to mobilise anti - tiger elements. Karuna is necessary till the East is fragmented and Sinhalaised. He may literally and metaphorically outlive his usefulness then.

In a show of mediation the military authorities summoned a peace parley at Vaakarai. TMVP stalwarts from both factions met to thrash out differences. Both Karuna and Pillaiyaan kept away. A compromise in the form of demarcated territorial control was proposed by the handlers.

Areas south of Batticaloa town from Aaraiyampathy to Pottuvil were to be under Karuna’s suzerainty; areas north of B’caloa from Aarumugathaankudiyiruppu to Verugal river were to be Pillaiyaan’s fiefdom. B’caloa town was to be common for both under supervision. The hinterland areas were to be decided upon later.

This demarcation was not to the liking of both factions clamouring to be “sole” representatives of Eastern Tamils. Arguments heated up and led to fisticuffs. At one point Iniyabharathy and Santhively Maama whipped out concealed pistols and fired away. Seelan and six others from Pillaiyaan faction were injured and are hospitalised.

The peace parley ended in pandemonium. Both factions grabbed people from the other faction and took them away as “human shields”. Thus Pillaiyaan factioni took Mahilan and some others as hostages. Karuna faction took Sinthujan and some others as hostages. Ironically the security forces “allowed” both factions to take captives and depart, providing safe escort to both groups returning to B’caloa, Karadiyanaaru and Trincomalee.

Sinthujan and some others were kept at the TMVP office - camp on Bar road in B’caloa town. Sinthujan is the man responsible for abducting and killing seven Tamil rehabilitation Organization (TRO) employees in 2006 January. He also led the gang rape of the TRO’s woman accountant.

Sinthujan and Vijitharan broke out of custody and tried to run away. Karuna loyalists gave chase and gunned them down near the toddy tavern junction. Vijitharan was killed instantaneously but a wounded Sinthujan was dragged away and brutally hacked to death. A Muslim auto rickshaw driver from Kattankudi who was passing by was also injured in the shooting.

Karuna loyalists have also abducted the wife of Seelan who was injured by Santhiveli Maamaa in the Vaakarai shooting. They have also broken into a number of houses belonging to TMVP leaders of the Pillaiyaan faction. Valuables have been looted and furniture destroyed. The houses of Seelan, Sitha master and Sasi were some residences affected.

One happy consequence of the Karuna - Pillaiyaan split is the remarkable drop in abductions for ransom in Colombo and forced conscription in Batticaloa. These activities however are likely to increase once the internal squabbling comes to an end.

Meanwhile military authorities are engaging with Karuna and Pillaiyaan separately to bring about a compromise. It is said that Karuna had to cut his European tour as a result. After promoting a split the handlers now hope to “unite” the weakened factions and manipulate them easily in the future. Such attempts could turn counterproductive because factional friction has can gather momentum to a point of no return.

If the Karuna - Pillaiyaan split becomes permanent the TMVP will be considerably weakened. Internecine warfare will debilitate both factions. It remains to be seen as to how this will affect the Rajapakse regime’s “chinthana” of fragmenting and Sinhalaising the East.With Karuna and Pillaiyaan clashing the ultimate victor could be Velupillai Pirapakaran.


Intelligence officer Nilam missing at Jakarta

A top intelligence officer of the Sri Lanka Army, Captain S.H. Nilam, who was the defence attaché at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Jakarta, has gone missing since last month. Another top official at the Jakarta embassy has reportedly received death threats from the LTTE.

State intelligence informed the government that Captain Nilam, his wife and three children had gone missing since April 23, a highly placed government official said.

He said that the acting ambassador in Jakarta, a Tamil, had reportedly received death threats from the Tamil Tigers recently.

The latest development follows the recall of Major General Janaka Perera, who was Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Indonesia, and the appointment of the former Army Chief of Staff, Major General Nanda Mallawarachchi- who has not yet assumed duties-as the new ambassador.

Major General Perera was asked to return to the country during the last week of April, for unknown reasons -- although his term had been expected to end next September.

It is learnt that, with the support of the Indonesian State Intelligence Agency -Badan Intelijen Negara (BIN), Captain Nilam had tipped off the Sri Lanka Government regarding several Sri Lanka bound LTTE arms shipments, and thus curtailed the flow of LTTE weapons to the country during his tenure.

Captain Nilam was in charge of the ‘Millennium City’ safe house when it was raided during the UNP regime. He was sent to Thailand in order to avoid LTTE attempts on his life. Later he was made the Defence Attaché in Indonesia.


Split in Karuna group reported

The pro-government Tamil militant group led by the former LTTE commander Karuna has reportedly split, with Karuna and his deputy, Pillaiyan, falling out over money and the command structure.

Quoting military sources The Nation weekly said on Sunday that Pillaiyan had fled to Trincomalee from Batticaloa with 150 of his followers.

Pillaiyan, as the man in the field, had resented Karuna's remote control, reliable sources told Hindustan Times.

The Nation said that the infighting had led to the killing of Sindujan, a Pillaiyan loyalist who was the head of the Karuna group in Amparai district.

Sindujan and the group's intelligence chief, Seelan, were called for a meeting where a Karuna loyalist, Iniyabharathi, killed Sindujan. Seelan escaped miraculously, the paper said. The clash within the group had erupted over the distribution of money.

On the day Sindujan was killed, Karuna had invited Pillaiyan to come over for a discussion. But Pillaiyan had chosen not to go as he knew what awaited him, The Nation said.

Those in the know recall that the Karuna-Prabhakaran split in early 2004 had also occurred over the use or misuse of money. The LTTE's financel department and its intelligence chief (Pottu Amman) had alleged misappropriation of funds by Karuna, who was then the Batticaloa and Amparai district commander.

They asked the Supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, to take action against Karuna. Prabhkaran summoned Karuna to the Wanni for a discussion. But Karuna chose not to go because he knew what awaited him.

Instead, he split, struck an alliance with the Sri Lankan government, and formed his own Batticaloa Amparai-based politico-military organisation called Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (Tamil Peoples' Liberation Tigers).

Informed sources say that in the fight within the Karuna group, Karuna will have the upper hand because he represents the 'brand'. Given his past as Prabhakaran's deputy, Karuna is likely to get outside support and not Pillaiyan.

It is likely that Prabhakaran will try to get Pillaiyan and his men to come over to his side, taking advantage of the offer of amnesty including jobs overseas.

Pillaiyan may find it hard to survive on his own. But it remains to be seen if he will exercise the option of seeking refuge in Prabhakaran.


Army’s special forces chief to quit by Sunil Jayasiri

Top Army officer, Colonel Prasanna Silva, the Brigade Commander of the special force which carried out the recent successful operations in the east including the one in Vakarai, has been asked to retire prematurely for unknown reasons, Daily Mirror learns.

Informed sources revealed Colonel Silva had submitted his resignation recently to Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who had reportedly accepted it. With the new development, Colonel Silva will retire in December this year.

Until the retirement, it is learnt, Colonel Silva has been given a logistic appointment at the Kosgama Army Camp,

Meanwhile, Army Commander Fonseka has appointed Jaffna’s 553 Brigade Commander Nirmal Dharmaratne as the Commander of the Army’s elite special forces with immediate effect. Colonel Silva’s achievements, it is learnt, were personally appreciated by the President at a meeting held soon after the successful operations in the East.


The Tamils safety in the capital city should be assured - The statement issued by Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) Supreme Commander Pillayan

Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) Supreme Commander Pillayan in a statement said that In recent days abduction and disappearance of Tamil youths both males and females have been escalated in Colombo . This has caused great fear to the Tamil people who live in Colombo and who come to Colombo for their needs. We are highly worried and shocked over this matter. We should not permit this situation to be continued. A full stop should be kept for the fear of the Tamil people and the Tamil people`s safety in Colombo should be assured.

Clashes are being taken place between the Government troops and Praba Group in North, East. In this condition abduction and disappearance of Tamils; have increased their disbelief. The President and the Government should pay more attention to this matter and should give assurance for their safety. The Government can`t get rid of its responsibility it has in the safety of the Tamil people.

Likewise the Tamil journalists and media institutions are facing threats. The opinions that are sown by a journalist can`t be destroyed by killing him. Our clear position is that unless by opinions, opinions cannot be destroyed by tools. The government should assure the right and the safety of the journalists who are the back- bones of democracy.

In recent days the security arrangements and checking operations have been intensified in Colombo . It is important to save the capital city , the politicians in the capital Colombo , foreign statesmen, economic centers and civilian targets from the terrorists of Praba Group. We accept the responsibility and the duty which the three forces have in this matter. But this security arrangement should not be against a specific nationalitly. During the checking and inquires the Tamils should not be viewed in suspicion. They too are citizens of this country.

The Tamil people are under going untold hardships due to the terrorist acts of Praba Group. It has been long time since the gap increased between Praba Group and Tamil People. Everyone should well realize this. The Sinhalese parties and people should look beyond Praba Terrorist Group and should gain the confidence of the Tamil people. This is the source of great way to solve this problem.

A few days before warning leaflets using our organization`s name was distributed in Athurugiriya, Millennium City area warning the Tamil people of that area to vacate. The over genius (') subjects in the leaflet underlines those who are behind this confederacy act.

No one ever uses their organization`s name to threat. Our organization`s name was used to claim in that leaflet with spelling mistakes. The literature mistakes and grammar mistakes clearly reveals the confederates of the leaflets. Our people well realize that we are not the owners of these hateful, stupid acts.

Our political activities are in view of the rights and safety of our people. We don`t want anything that cannot fulfil our people`s expectations. We see this as a part of a confederacy effort taken by those who are unable to digest our political activities. This indirectly reveals that any dangers may be caused to the Tamil people in order to disgrace our organization`s name.

Therefore I wish to reiterate that it is duty of the Government to assure the safety of the Tamil people and to make way for them to live in a fearless state.


Cracks within Karuna faction

An internal strife within the Karuna faction has come to a head on with deputy leader of the group Pillayan falling out and one of his loyalists Sindujan being killed in internecine warfare, military sources said. Pillayan who was the number two in the group and the military leader of the outfit had also escaped an attempt on his life and slipped to Trincomalee with over 150 cadres loyal to him.

In an incident that took place on Thursday the intelligence leader of the Karuna group Seelan and its Ampara district leader Sindujan had been summoned for a meeting where Sindujan was shot and killed by Karuna loyalist Iniyaparithy. Seelan had narrowly escaped after sustaining wounds.

The clash within the group had erupted over an argument between Karuna and Pillayan over disbursement of the group`s funds and the new appointments made within the faction. Afterwards Karuna had ordered his cadres that Pillayan and his loyalists be hunted.

On the day of the killing of Sindujan, Karuna had asked Pillayan to come to Colombo for an urgent meeting with him, which Pillayan had avoided knowing very well that he would be targeted there. It is learnt that the military is in a quandary over the split in the Karuna faction since it was Pillayan who had been close to the fighting cadres of the Karuna faction.


Open warfare between Karuna and his deputy Pillaiyan: split due to money and command structure issues

The Karuna Group in the east which broke away from the Vanni-led LTTE has split into two groups, according to sources in Colombo.

The deputy leader Pillaiyan of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal military wing, has broken away from his leader, Murlitharan alias Colonel Karuna. Sources revealed that the falling out has occurred over issues of "money and the command structure".

Asian Tribune reliably learnt that Pillaiyan had also resented the "remote control" approach of Karuna while Pillaiyan was in the field moving with his cadres.

The split ocurred after the two sides engaged in open warfare.

Recently, Pillaiyan who was in Vaharai was summoned to Colombo for a meeting and was ordered to stay in a particular hotel in Colombo. Accordingly Pillaiyan went to Colombo for the meeting.

When he was about to enter the Colombo city, he received an urgent phone call from Seelan that Sinthujan, who was the Commander of the Deep Penetrating Force, was killed. The plan was to send Sinthujan on leave to isolate him from the unit. Accordingly Sinthujan went on leave to his home in Amparai . There in Amparai, he was seized by a group of commanders Inaiyabarathy, Veera, Ranjan, Thileepan and Jeeventiran and brutally killed by ruthlessly assaulting him with crowbars and steel rods. Also Seelan told Pillaiyan that Akilan was shot and he has sustained serious injuries in his hand. Seelan also reported that he was also shot but sustained minor gunshot injuries, but survived from the pursuing killers.

Pillaiyan was also told that there was a move to arrest him in Colombo and already 20 cadres were waiting to grab him in the vicinity of the hotel where he was supposed to go and stay.

Asian Tribune further learnt that nearly 100 cadres under the command of commanders Iniyabarathy, Veera, Ranjan, Thileepan and Jeeventiran ransacked the TMVP offices in the Batticaloa district. When they rounded up the TMVP office located in the Govindan Road Batticaloa, Pradeeb managed to escape. But the rampaging cadres went to his house and chased his wife and her sisters and mother from the house.

As mentioned earlier Seelan who was in charge of Arasady Road Office in Batticalao survived with gunshot injuries when his office was rounded up by rampaging cadres.

Asian Tribune was unable to contact either Pillaiyan or Colonel Karuna for further information.

Sources say that Pillaiyan is now in Trincomalee and there are more than 300 TMVP armed cadres are with him. TMVP commanders Marckan, Sinna Jeyam and others are with Pillaiyan.

Pillaiyan initially wanted to leave Sri Lanka and seek asylum in some other country, but TMVP cadres have urged that he should not leave Sri Lanka and should remain in the country and continue to work for TMVP.

It is learnt Karuna is in Colombo. He came back to Sri Lanka eight months ago.

Before Karuna returned to Sri Lanka, Pillaiyan went to India and made the necessary arrangements to relocate Karuna’s wife and three children safely. After the relocation of the family was done successfully, Pillaiyan arranged to send a common friend from London to bring Karuna back to Colombo.

Once Karuna returned to Colombo, Pillaiyan handed back responsibility of money matters to Karuna, according to a TMVP source.

More details are awaited.