Tying up post-war
Tissa Ravindra Perera
Having vanquished the most ruthless terrorist outfit the world has
known, the security forces (SF) are on the double arranging for the
resettlement of all displaced persons in their former places of
First on the agenda is the unearthing of arms and
ammunition hidden by the terrorists. Then the forces also have to ensure
that the areas thus cleared are free of landmines, improvised explosive
devices and other booby traps left behind by the terrorists.
For this task, the Wanni has been divided into four sectors, with each
sector assigned to a separate Battalion, to carry out thorough clearing
The spoils of war
Meanwhile, on information
elicited from Tiger cadres in custody and from informants, the SF
continued to recover large hauls of Tiger weapon caches even this week.
On information provided by a terrorist captured in Vavuniya, 11
Artillery Regiment of Task Force VIII, recovered a torpedo shooter, two
torpedoes and a 130mm artillery gun last Monday (29) from a jungle in
Chundikulam south, Pudukudyirrippu .
The torpedoes capable of sinking even large ships, were found for the
first time in Sri Lanka. This type of torpedo does not exist even in the
SLN armoury, and had been obtained from a breakaway country of the
former Soviet Union.
Each torpedo is 26 ft. long and weighs 1200
kilos. The torpedo launcher is 28 ft. in length, with a circumference of
5.7 ft. It has been confirmed that these two torpedoes and the launcher
had been manufactured with the latest technology, and could have been
fitted to an ocean going vessel.
The costly torpedoes had been
transported to the North on a barge in July 2007, according to the
informant. According to investigations, the consignment had been
purchased towards the end of June or the beginning of July 2007 from
arms runners in the Black Sea area.
There had been intelligence of the vessel ‘Matsushima’ bringing
torpedoes to the LTTE in 2007. It was destroyed by the SLN in October
2007. It is suspected that the torpedoes may have been unloaded onto a
barge and brought ashore.
Due to their failure to acquire the technical know-how to put the weapon
into use, it is thought that these weapons were left idling and not used
against SLN vessels.
The SF suspect the tunnel found by 58 Division at
Vellamullivaikal shore had been built for the purpose of taking the
torpedoes out to deep sea. There are two ways of targeting torpedoes:
one is to home in on sound waves emanating from an ocean going vessel,
while the other is its capability to go after the target it is aimed
There is evidence that the 130mm cannon found had been used in the final
battle, and the enemy had taken it apart and hidden in the closing
On information gathered, 56 Division troops unearthed the
latest diving gear made in America, underwater torches, underwater
signal equipment, multi barrel rockets, hand grenades, pressure bombs
and other arms and ammunition in a fresh search at Vellamullaivaikal.
Among this consignment were a quantity of imported spear guns, and a
large number of barrels for peddle operated guns.
In addition to
these, Lt. Col. Kithsiri Kottawatta of 17 Gemunu Watch (GW) found 4
kilos of gold buried at Karayalaimullavaikal. Cpl. Priyantha and Pvt.
Ratnayaka of Delta Company of 17 GW, probing the ground with long steel
spikes found the gold jewellery buried five feet underground. Later that
day the same group also found RPGs, grenade launchers, suicide kits and
Redeployment of Units
As these searches in
the Wanni are being completed, the troops there are being redeployed.
Accordingly, the Army Chief has made plans to bring the fighting
Divisions and other Divisions engaged in the Wanni battle under
Following the new changes, 57 Division under Brig.
Rohana Bandara, Task Force III under Col. Sarath Wijebandara and Task
Force VIII under Col. G.V. Ravipriya have been brought in as fighting
units of the newly created Kilinochchi SF HQ headed by Maj. Gen. Channa
Goonatileke, while Task Force V under Col. Athula Galagamage and Task
Force VI under Col. Channa Kodituwakku too have been added to
Killinochchi HQ as defensive units.
Similarly, the new Mulativu SF HQ
under the command of Maj. Gen. Nandana Udawatta will now oversee 59
Division headed by Brig. Chagee Gallage, Task Force III headed by Col.
Nishantha Wanniarachchi and Task Force II led by Col. Jayantha
Gooneratne as attack Divisions. The Welioya Area Commander’s HQ too has
been placed under the command of the new Mulativu SF HQ.
The Wanni SF
Commander Maj. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya has been tasked the function of
overseeing 61 Division headed by Brig. Nissanka Ranawana, 56 Division
headed by Brig. Priyantha Napagoda, 21 Division headed by Brig. Senaka
Wickramaratne and Mannar Command HQ headed by Col. Tissa Nanayakkara
under the new changes.
53 Division under the command of Maj. Gen. Kamal Guneratne and 58
Division under the command of Brig. Shavendra Silva have been
placed directly under the Army Commander.
The Army Chief has also
taken action to place under the command of Jaffna SF Commander Maj. Gen
Mendaka Samarasinghe, in addition to 51 and 52 Divisions, 55 Division
headed by Brig. Prasanna de Silva and Task Force VII headed by Col.
Roshan Seneviratne. While these changes were going on, Gen. Sarath
Fonseka toured Jaffna on Thursday (2) to thank officers and soldiers who
took part in the final battle for Wanni. This was also his first visit
to Jaffna, after winning the Wanni Battle and being promoted General.
Meanwhile, arrangements are in the offing to
build four monuments in Wanni, in remembrance of the valiant men who
sacrificed their lives there. The sites selected for the monuments are
the final battle site near the shell of the vessel Farah 3 at
Vellamullaivaikkal, Anandapuram in Pudukudyirruppu East, the site where
more than 600 Tiger senior cadres were killed in April, including many
of their leaders such as Durga and Theepan, and the sites of the old
Army camps at Kilinochchi and Mulativu.
Ferreting out the enemy within
Following the alleged shocking revelations that has come to light of
the involvement of certain UN and INGO personnel and vehicles belonging
to them, and the connection of two politicians, to assassinate the
President with the aid of Tiger terrorists, the entire investigation is
being handed over to the CID by the Western Province intelligence
The Western province intelligence division took into custody
three drivers - Kumaran of ‘Save the Children’, Victor of UNHCR and
Soundar of UNOPS who were LTTE cadres and had transported stocks of C4
explosives and other material to Colombo, hidden in the bottom of their
vehicle’s petrol tanks. A suspect known as Neshan, taken in along with
the three drivers, had been the mastermind behind the operation. As
investigations proceed, the two politicians and more suspects are
expected to be taken into custody.
The displaced civilians and
captured Tiger cadres are both stationed under Wanni SF HQ. More forces
have been sent to fortify this area during the past weeks. Terrorists
hiding in these relief camps as civilians, passing up the opportunity to
surrender voluntarily, are to be taken into custody and brought before
the law. Action has already commenced to apprehend them.
The Diyatalawa Army Training Academy yesterday witnessed
the largest number of officer recruits passing out at a single parade in
its entire history. Intake 66 for Regular Officers had 33 Officer Cadets
passing out, Intake 46 for Volunteer Officers had 47, Intake 14 for
Short-Term Officers had 87, Short-Term Course Intake 15 had 61 Officers
and Short-Term Course Intake 16 had 50 Officers, altogether totaling
281Officers passing out in a single day.
The special feature this
time, as a result of the large numbers receiving Officer training, was
the privilege afforded to some of them to undergo training in India,
Bangladesh and Pakistan. There were also three Officer recruits who were
trained in the USA and UK, among this lot. The training programme was
successfully completed due to the tireless efforts of the Commanding
Officer of the Diyatalawa Army Training Academy- Brig. Kumudu Perera.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya
Rajapaksa graced the massive passing out parade.