Military Matters

Govt. takes steps to re-settle civilians in Wanni

Fifteen thousand IDP’s already earmarked for resettlement

By Tissa Ravindra Perera
The Government has already taken necessary steps to begin re-settling civilians in the Wanni. They are to begin resettlement starting with Thunukkai and Mallavi areas west of the A9 Highway.
The Army intelligence has begun the process of registering those to be resettled after evaluating the civilians and the Tigers. The Army and Police intelligence are also continuing with unearthing buried Tiger weapons caches.
Inspector Lal Gamage leading a team from the TID was involved in digging up a haul of suicide kits and cannon type weapons in Vellamullaivaikkal, Friday, 31.

Security forces believe that at least 50% of Tiger arsenal has yet to be recovered. What had been buried in the Eastern province is yet being unearthed. To resettle people without unearthing the buried weapons caches, would be like waving the green light to terrorism once again.

Up to now out of about 280,000 people in IDP camps, only one hundred and forty thousand have been registered. There are more Tiger leaders and senior cadres yet to be identified. They will have to be weeded out and rehabilitated. Without limiting their identification just to photographs, they will have to be fingerprinted and detailed intelligence services have pointed out. The necessary finger printing machines have still not been provided, and those responsible have to make sure these requirements are procured immediately.

Those thus resettled have to be easily recognised at check points while travelling in the South, and their personal details have to be computerised and be made accessible to the security checkpoints through mobile phone systems, as such measures can help to check any terror activity in the South.
About fifteen thousand IDPs in these camps who are originally from Jaffna and the Eastern province are to be resettled once the authorisation is given.

Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayake has been appointed this week as the new Commissioner General of Rehabilitation by the government to look into these matters. He will function under the Defence Ministry. An efficient officer from the Infantry Regiment, he has shown his prowess in conducting operations, intelligence work and other areas. He served well as the Commander of the 23 Division, and showed his mettle during operations to recapture Thoppigala and Vakerai.

The responsibility of rehabilitating about ten thousand Tiger cadres who came with the civilians will fall on Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayake. Under a separate scheme based on education, spiritual development and job skills, they are to be rehabilitated and brought back to society. The fact that there are hard core Tiger leaders and indoctrinated fighters amongst them makes that task very difficult

Among them are terrorists involved in Tiger intelligence, commanders of their armoured divisions, and leaders of their snipers, suicide bombers, those involved with bombing the Air Force camp in Anuradhapura, bombing the Naval buses at Digampathana, bombing harbours in the South, and Tiger leaders involved in the killings of Ministers Lakshman Kadirgarmar and Jeyeraj Fernandopulle, inside these IDP camps.

The intelligence confirms that the sniper involved in the killing of Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar too is in a camp. Their leader too is in the camp as confirmed by intelligence. It is so far confirmed by the intelligence, that the brain behind the planning of the killing of Minister Kadirgamar has already been killed by the Tigers. The information has come from the wife of A. Jeyagowry, the Tiger leader who masterminded the assassination. They had been in love but the Tiger organisation did not approve their marriage, but they had got married on the sly and he had been murdered secretly by the Tigers as a result. Her husband had been a powerful intelligence member while she a senior member in the armed division. She had been given photographs of those involved in Kadirgamar’s killing before her man died, but she had destroyed them before coming to the camp, it has been revealed.

While things remained so, K.P. or Kumaran Padmanathan who tried to take over the leadership with the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran, continues to meet with opposition from Tiger membership under Pottuamman and Castro overseas, who have raised their heads once more, according to information coming via International intelligence agencies.

With the signing of the controversial peace accord in February 2002, Tiger leader Prabhakaran had appointed Pottuamman and Castro as the International Leaders replacing K.P., but as the noose tightened around the Tigers, Prabhakaran recalled him as their international representative. These groups aligned with Pottuamman and Castro in Europe, are lining up against K.P. according to intelligence. Although these two groups met with K.P’s group at a secret location abroad recently, they have not come to any agreement intelligence sources have ascertained.

Eelam dream given new face
It has been confirmed by these reports that the Eelam dream has been given a new face that is in search of a political solution, and is being promoted internationally by K.P, according to security intelligence. K.P. got his powers restored after the Tigers took refuge in the No Fire Zone set aside for civilians, when the Tiger leader sought his help to obtain international support bail them out of a precarious situation. Until then it was Pottuamman and Castro, who called the shots, according to security intelligence. It is believed that both Pottuamman and Castro perished with the rest of the Tiger leadership trapped in the NFZ.

While trying various methods to get the international unit fired up again, K.P. is also again collecting funds for operations. The security intelligence points out that there is the possibility of K.P. using his suicide cadres who have infiltrated into the South to assassinate either a senior military officer or a high ranking minister, thus showing the world they are yet strong. This sort of showing could enhance their fund raising capacity and expand their coffers, and it might be an incentive for the sleeping cadres over here to activate themselves- unless they are kept under close watch by the Armed forces.

Meanwhile the terrorists who were involved in plotting to kill President Mahinda Rajapakasa while being employed by the UN, and had used their vehicles to bring in the necessary explosives, are still being visited by foreigners at the Borella Police station, security intelligence has reported. They were taken into custody by the Western Province Intelligence unit last month.

Three Brigadiers who courageously led the troops in the massive thrust to capture Wanni - Shavendra Silva, Prasanna de Silva and Chagi Gallage were promoted to the rank of Majors General this week. In addition 46 Colonels were promoted as Brigadiers. They are: D.R. Mayadunne, Tissa Jayasuriya, D.M. Gunesekara, K.P. Wickramasinghe, K.C. Gunawardene, D.D. Dias, D.S. Weeman, D.I. Karunaratna, D.S. Weerasekera, R.P. Rowell, C.S. Wanniarachchi, W. Kariyawasam, A. Kariyakarawana, A.S. Ranasinghe, U.K. Hettiarachchi, Sarath Ambewa, S.K. Senadhira, Aruna Jayasekera, Ralph Nugera, Nishantha Wanniarachchi, Sudath Perera, Laksiri Waduge, Athula Koddipilli, G.V. Ravipriya, Athula Galagamage, Raj Ranawaka, S. Dissanayaka, I.P.Ranasingha, C.M. Kodituwakku, P.R. Seneviratna, B.A. Sudasingha, M.Kulatunga, Suraj Bangsajayah, T.J. Nanayakkara, Janaka Mohotti, R. Wanigasuriya, K.P.D. Perera, A.D.Silva, Mahinda Weerasuriya, Athula Hennadige, M.J. Seneviratna, C.D. Gunawardene, Wasantha Kumarapperuma, V.K. Jayasingha, E.G. Jayakody And K.P. Sumanapala.

Additional changes were made in the upper ranks this week by Military SecretaryMilinda Pieris with his signature via circular MSB/A/6/1 (APPT) (165) dated July 30. Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayaka was appointed Commissioner General of Rehabilitation attached to Defence Ministry. Majors General Laksiri Ameratunga, Mahesh Senanayaka, Janaka Walgama, Sumith Padumadasa and Dampath Fernando have been attached to Joint Operations Headquarters. Commander 22 Division Trincomalee Maj. Gen. Janaka Walgama takes over as Director General Intelligence. Intelligence units of all three Defence Forces and Police will fall under his purview.

Maj. Gen. Prasanna de Silva will take over as Commander 22 Division. Brigadier Amal Karunasekera in addition to his duties as the Army’s Director Armoured Intelligence, will act as Director Infantry. From being the Commander Commando Regiment, Brigadier Ralph Nugera takes over as Commander 23 Division, and the vacant slot as Commander Commando Regiment is taken by Second in Command of 53 Division Brig. Sudath Perera takes over as Commander 55 Division. Brig. Athula Koddippili will take over as the Deputy Commander 53 Division. Col. Harendra Ranasingha takes over as Commander Special Forces Brigade.

Brig. C.D.Gunawardene who was Second in Command of 55 Division takes over as 57-1 Brigade Commander. Lt. Col. N.M.Weerasingha who was with Directorate of Operations has been moved to Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters as Colonel Staff. Lt. Col. G. Wanniarachchi assumes duties as Colonel Training and Lt. Col. Eepshitha Dissanayaka as Commander 68-1 Brigade.

Changes in Navy

In addition many changes also took place in the Navy this week. Rear Admiral Somatillake Dissanayaka became the Chief of Staff. Rear Adm. Susith Weerasekera who took over as the Commander of the East, was also made the Deputy Chief of Staff. Rear Adm. Jayanath Colombage took over as the Northern Naval Commander, while Rear Adm. Jayantha Perera assumed duties as Director General Operarations. Commodore Ravi Wijegooneratne takes over as Naval Commander West, Commodore Shirantha Udawatta takes over as Navy’s Chief at the Joint Operations Headquarters. Commodore Rohan Amerasinghe takes over as Director General Staff Training. Commodore Rohana Perera takes over as Commander South and Commodore Neil Rosairo takes up duties as the Naval Director Operations.



A close associate of Prabhakaran speaks to a political magazine in Tamilnadu…

“Prabhakaran wanted to keep his children in public eye”

M. Thirunavakarasu - Former advisor to LTTE

  • Anandapuram battle Prabha’s Waterloo
  • Special cyanide preparation for family

An article that appeared in a political periodical in Tamilnadu recently attracted much attention of the people there. The article was based on an interview given by a Sri Lankan named M.Thirunavakarasu who had claimed that he had been a close associate of the LTTE Leader Prabhakaran, and had been with the latter up to May 16 this year, confined to a small swathe of land in the no-fire zone, just three days ahead of the last battle that eliminated the entire LTTE leadership including Prabhakaran.

Thirunavakarasu, though well known among Tamil readers as a political analyst, had been in reality an advisor to the LTTE leadership. He has readily admitted to his being with Prabhakaran up to May 16. But he had declined to divulge how he managed to reach the Indian shores. National Intelligence here had already identified Thirunavakarasu as a person who had been in the inner circle of the LTTE for several decades. They had gathered further information about his antecedents from the Internet. According to ant-LTTE website `Theni’, Thirunavakarasu too had played as important a role as the outfit’s ideologue Anton Balasingham did. The website says that this person was the livewire behind the LTTE’s move to drive all Muslim residents from Jaffna after giving them a 24-hour- notice. He had even advised Prabhakaran to shift Jaffna university to Kilinochchi, `Theni’ website reveals.

Now an inmate in a refugee camp in Tamilnadu, Thirunavakarasu is no longer an important character. He has now entered the limelight because of his rare value as a person in a position to give a first hand ball by ball account of the last days of the final battle off Mullaitivu, that saw the tragic end of the LTTE

Following are excerpts of the interview given by Thirunavakarasu

Q: Could you give an account of the last days of the so called armed struggle for Eelam ?
LTTE fighters and the people were resigned to the impending total defeat when they found themselves surrounded by the Army. Civilians who had taken refuge in large bunkers began leaving en masse for the military-controlled areas. In the absence of a proper co-ordination process, the Tiger cadres did not know what they should do in the circumstances. All were in a state of fear and anxiety. We had to live every second fearing imminent death. Living with death staring at you, is a greater tragedy than dying itself. This is an experience you cannot adequately describe in words. You can grasp the horror of this experience by only living it!
Q: What were LTTE’s preparations to face the impending calamity?
LTTE leader Prabhakaran had understood what was coming. He knew they were heading towards a devastating end. The faith that the LTTE leaders had placed in the success of their armed struggle appeared to be waning. At one stage the LTTE hierarchy were fully confident that Sri Lanka Army would not succeed in capturing Kilinochchi.

However, when the Army, demonstrating its superior military might, began their forward march after taking the well fortified Kilinochchi bastion, both Tiger cadres and civilians began to feel that the Eelam war was doomed to failure. Prabhakaran still stuck to his decision to continue fighting. He did not appear to accept defeat. The scenes of pitched battles during the last days of the Eelam War Four were so fierce that even Prabhakaran may have been unnerved by their ferocity.

The senior Tiger leaders had by now realised that Sri Lanka Army’s target was Prabhakaran himself. They persuaded Prabhakaran to move to Anandapuram with an escort of 600 Tiger commandos. However, by this time the Army had beaten them to this move by surrounding Anandapuram. Gadaffi, Theepan, Vidusha and Durga were among the commando leaders who were in charge of Prabhakaran’s security. However, a massive assault on their camp by the Army soon afterwards, left several hundreds of Tiger commandos dead. Prabhakaran who under tight security by commandos like Bhanu , had a narrow escape.

Q: What were the orders Prabhakaran had issued to his cadres during the last days of the Eelam war?
During the last days, top LTTE leaders had realised the futility of carrying on the fight. So naturally they discussed the possibility of a formal surrender. Prabhakaran scotched the talk of a possible surrender saying, “Our people have held talks with Hillary Clinton. So we can expect America to intervene. Let us try to withstand the military assault for at least another three days.”
But several obstacles came up in the way of an American intervention. Prabhakaran realised too late the ground reality that the US could not intervene disregarding India’s interests. By the time the reality dawned on him, the Army was already closing in on the last swathe of land in the no fire zone where they were cornered, for the final assault. And this reality was the signal for even LTTE cadres to join the exodus of civilians to the Army-ruled territory. Later there were reports that Tiger leaders had been killed by the Army.

Q: According to your information how did Prabhakaran come to his end?
Prabhakaran did not entertain the idea of surrendering till his last moment. He always said that death was far better than a meek surrender. There was a large group of senior LTTE cadres who remained with Prabhakaran till his end. Even those who were very close to him, may not have been privy to his thinking in his last hour.

Q: Certain reports say that Prabhakaran’s family members were killed during fighting. There are other reports that say that they managed to skip the country. What is the truth?
Prabhakaran kept his family members in the territory under his sway. He did not want to send them abroad. He made it a point to keep his three children always in the public eye. He strongly believed that sending his family members abroad would undermine his organisation and threaten its survival. His eldest son Charles Anthony was at the battle front. As the fighting took a fierce turn, some Tiger leaders had wanted to send Prabhakaran’s wife Madivadani abroad for safety. However, Prabhakaran had immediately shot down the idea. It appears that Prabhakaran had already decided that the end of the war was also end of his family. Therefore, he got a certain doctor to make a special cyanide preparation for use by his family members.

Q: Do you mean that none of Prabhakaran’s family members could escape alive?
When the final battle was drawing towards its end, I had occasion to visit a bunker that was close to mine. Prabhakaran’s father and mother were there. As the battle was raging, they later made their way to an IDP camp in Vavuniya. A subsequent report said that they were taken elsewhere for security reasons. I heard that the Sri Lanka Army is treating them well. Charles Anthony died fighting. I know nothing about the fate that befell the other two children.

Q: Do you think there is truth in reports that a group of LTTE cadres are still hiding in jungles?
During the final military operations, about 10,000 LTTE cadres surrendered to the Army. There were about 24,000 LTTE fighters at the inception of Eelam War Four. Of them about 7,000 died fighting. Some 2500 had gone into hiding in jungles. They have no capability to launch attacks. There is no co-ordination among them either.

Q: What information have you got about the LTTE Intelligence chief Pottu Amman?
Now that Prabhakaran is dead and gone, there is no possibility that Pottu Amman and Susai are among the living. Therefore, there cannot be any truth about reports that Pottu Amman is in the Army custody.

Q: Did the LTTE believe that the outcome of general parliamentary elections in India could make a big change in the battle scenario at the last moment?
There was a general feeling that the Indian Congress Party would come back to power. People were aware of the reality that the main rival political camp was not strong enough. The LTTE too did not expect a change in India’s power equation either.
(Translation by Ramesh Kumar)