Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sea Tiger radar point destroyed

Increasing trend of LTTE activities in temples and churches, says army

Army confident of driving out Tigers

A trap awaits the troops, says LTTE

COLOMBO: The military reported on Tuesday that an LTTE cadre committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule when troops entered a temple in Kaluwankerni, Batticaloa, in a search operation even as the air force bombed “identified” Tiger targets in Thoppigala jungles in the east.

Thoppigala, supposedly the last pocket of influence of Tigers, is the theatre of a battle between the army and the LTTE for several weeks now. The military has claimed that it would be a matter of days before it drove out the 300 odd Tigers sheltered in the bushy jungles. On the reported suicide, the military said the army conducted a search operation following a tip-of that the LTTE cadre who fled Thoppigala took cover in the temple.

“Lately the security forces have observed an increasing trend of LTTE activities inside Hindu temples and Christian churches.

“On many occasions they have sought the sanctuary of places of worship to conceal explosives, weapons and other military equipment making use of the high degree of respect the armed forces have towards these places.

“Concerned civilians and religious leaders play a major role in informing the security forces of such impious activities by the LTTE. In most instances, recovery of weapons and explosives was possible due to timely information by civilians and religious leaders,” said the military. Separately, fighter jets pounded “identified LTTE targets” and a Sea Tiger radar point was destroyed in the precision strikes.

LTTE’s appeal

The Defence Ministry alleged that the LTTE is using polythene sacks with UNHCR emblem containing dry rations to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) to cover up their bunkers.

“Paying scant regard to the civilians, Tiger terrorists had also blown up a bridge that connected Karadiyanaru with Thoppigala road and steps are being taken by Engineer troops to restore the bridge”.

Coinciding with the Co-Chairs meeting under way in Oslo, S.P Thamilchelvan, head of the LTTE’s political division, told TamilNet that to bring peace and pave the way for talks, the international community should come forward to “support the struggle for rights of the Tamil people and force the Sri Lankan Government to implement the ceasefire agreement in full”.

Characterising the “efforts” to bring a united position among the southern parties as the “same old drama,” that has gone on throughout the Tamil people’s struggle for their rights, he said only the CFA can save the island from the disaster.

Welcoming the meeting, he said Tamil people had become suspicious as to why there was no “firm united stance” even among the members of the Co-Chairs.

Some members are indirectly encouraging Colombo by giving military and economic aid while some others are attempting to implement practical steps to put pressure on the Government, he alleged.

Mr. Thamilchelvan claimed that the LTTE chose military strategies to suit the “place, environment and time,” and that the army would soon find out the “trap they have set for themselves”.