Archive for June 13th, 2008

The lethal recovery

A team of special investigators from the Terrorist Investigation Division of the Sri Lanka Police (TID) left for Nuwara Eliya on Wednesday after interrogating several top LTTE members who are under police custody.

The vehicle carrying the investigators stopped near an estate in Magastota in Nuwara Eliya in the afternoon.  Based on the information given by the suspects in custody the team went to an isolated and open area.

After initial investigations the team found a concrete slab on the ground. The investigators realized it was possible that under the slab there would be explosives, arms or even bombs. They carefully removed the slab according to directions from one of the LTTE suspect who had been taken there to identify the exact location. When the concrete slab was removed, they found a large consignment of explosives carefully hidden underneath.

The items had been packed in polythene and other wrapping material. Going through the material they discovered a large amount of explosives. The items found were 300kg of Trinitrotoluene known as TNT explosives, 16kg of C4 explosives packed in eight parcels each weighting two kilograms, two T-56 assault rifles and a large quantity of ammunition. Soon after the detection, the investigators immediately left for Colombo.

The detection of these items was after a thorough interrogation of Arumugam Nagulan, a Pastor from Vavuniya arrested in Puttalam in February and a senior LTTE cadre Doraisamai Muralidasam.

So far a large number of such detections have been made by the TID officers after obtaining information from the suspects taken into police custody from several parts of the country and mainly Nuwara Eliya.

The events that led to this detection began in February, when members of the Civil Defence Force or known as the Home Guard unit arrested a suspect named Velupillai Kandakaran with two suicide kits, 121 detonators and six timers used for a time bomb in Mabole, Wattala.

After questioning Kandakaran, the  investigators got the  name of  a Pastor from  Vavuniya, who is said to have been responsible for transporting suicide  kits to suicide cadres in the cleared areas to South of the country. He had been arrested while fleeing in a Dolphin van at Saliyapura in Puttalam. After interrogation, the arrested Pastor revealed what he had done for the terrorist organization. Following information received from him at least five more pastors were arrested by the police, who had assisted in transporting more explosive laden suicide kits to Colombo.

Nagulan had received instructions on how and where to transport the material from London. Whenever any direction came from London through telephone, Nagulan had acted as instructed until his arrest. Following the direction from London, at least 20 more suicide LTTE cadres and a large number of suicide kits laden with explosives had been transported safely.

When the residence of Nagulan at Pahathkattu Kotte in Mannar was raided by a special police team in February the Police recovered three suicide kits, two Claymore mines each weighing five kilograms, six magnetic bombs each weighing 600 grams, three kilos of C4 explosives and some bombs.

Later, police found 26 kilograms of C4 high explosives, 20 detonators, one suicide kit and six suicide belts, seven hand grenades and a micro pistol from a hideout in the Kandapola estate in Nuwara Eliya.

In the meantime a lorry loaded with over 1000 kilograms of high explosives was arrested one year ago in Nikaweratiya.

Likewise, this particular Pastor Nagulan had transported an unknown number of explosives and suicide cadres to several main cities in the country in order to carry out violent activities in these areas.

Investigators revealed that they were conducting further inquiries to find more such places after further questioning Nagulan and the other arrested cadres.

Navy reviews security following Mannar attack

Following the surprise attack on the Sri Lanka Navy’s outpost at Erukkulampiddi in Mannar, Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda flew to the scene and reviewed the security situation there.

Instructions have been given to further tighten the security in the area deploying additional troops. It is now revealed that the recent series of detections of contraband items destined for the LTTE had been conducted by these camps in the Mannar area. In order to ease the threat on the LTTE, the Navy believed, the Tigers had launched this attack.

With the cutting off of the main supply routes to the LTTE-held areas through the sea, the LTTE are now  pressurising  the security forces in order to protect the only supply route to Vedithalathivu area.

Minutes after 2 am on Wednesday morning, a group of heavily armed LTTE men, members of the Sea Tiger wing stormed the Navy outpost at Erukkilampiddi in the Mannar Island.

The battle had lasted for several hours as more than 50 armed LTTE men in six boats had come for the surprise assault. A small contingent of sailors was there at the time of the assault. These sailors however managed to fight back until reinforcements arrived. Due to the fierce battle at least five LTTE cadres including a leader and three sailors were killed with two more sailors injured.

“Among the LTTE deaths was senior Sea Tiger leader ‘Siriman.’ It was a major achievement and from the LTTE side it was a major setback to them,” Navy Spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake said.

He said that in the sea battle one Tiger boat was destroyed and as other boats began fleeing naval gunboats started surrounding them.  Under heavy retaliation, the rebel boats had withdrawn from the scene with their casualties. Air Force MI 24 helicopters were also called to the scene and launched an attack on the withdrawing boats. The air assault had been launched around 4.45 a.m., targeting the rebel boats fleeing towards Vidattaltivu area.

However the Tamilnet website claimed that the Sea Tigers had brought the entire installation under their control following the attack. “The Sea Tiger marines launched a lightning seaborne strike around 2 a.m. yesterday and brought the entire installation under their full control within 10 minutes,” the website said quoting LTTE sources.

It also said that four of its members and at least ten sailors were killed in the sea battle. “The Tigers were in full control of the navy installation for almost two hours and destroyed the camp,” the web site stated.

The web site said that the mission had been carried out to mark the completion of two months of the killing of the Sea Tigers special engineering division head Gadaffi.

Two more new divisions, as ‘One-four base’ battle begins

Two more new Divisions will be utilized in the ongoing military operations to capture the remaining areas under LTTE control, as the troops are now  close to the strong LTTE base in the Welioya jungle –the  ‘One-four Base’.

The 61 Division and Task Force 2 will be the two divisions. With the additional two Divisions, the total number of Sri Lanka Army Divisions taking part in the operation has risen to seven. Accordingly, the seven divisions are 53 (Nagarkovil), 55 (Muhamalai), 57(Vavuniya), 58 (Mannar), 59 (Welioya), 61 and Task Force 2.

Already two brigades are currently carrying out military operations in some selected areas.

The main purpose of setting up these two divisions is to open new fronts in the Wanni battle field.

In Welioya, the 59 division was engaged in a fierce battle with the LTTE as the soldiers were very close to the ‘One –four base,” which at one time LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran used as his main hideout.

Already the troops have breached the forward defence lines ahead of the LTTE’s ‘One-four base’ on several occasions during the last few days. This base is located close to the Nittaikulam Tank in Mullaitivu.

In order to prevent the capture of the base, the Tigers had cut all the trees within 200 metres of land ahead of the base and south of the Nittaikulam Tank.

The main purpose in clearing this stretch of land was to cause heavy damage to the military, who would have to now go through this open land to capture the ‘One-four base camp’.

Using this land, the Tigers are attempting to launch a massive mortar and artillery barrage on the advancing troops. Troops are now some 600 metres ahead of the ‘One-four base’ camp.

So far the security forces have captured some 800 kilomtres in the Wanni region from  all fronts since the fighting broke out in the Wanni last year.

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Large quantities of explosives and other war material meant for Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers are being seized in Tamil Nadu in south India, indicating the guerrillas’ game to wage a long war. Security agencies from the central and Tamil Nadu governments are regularly confiscating from the coastal belt ammunition and dual use goods that officials say are destined for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

As the costly war rages on in Sri Lanka, between the LTTE and a Colombo regime determined to crush the Tigers, Tamil Nadu seems to have assumed renewed significance in the context of the war theatre.

Since the start of 2007 until now, Indian authorities have seized unusually large volumes of ball bearings that are used as shrapnel, aluminium bars, both ordinary and electronic detonators, boat building equipment, walkie-talkies, batteries and petroleum products.

Also found hidden or abandoned have been chemicals including sulphuric acid, high-speed outboard engines for boats, cycle spares, tyres for cycles and motorcycles, power generators, and surgical equipment including medicines.

The seizures also include beedis – the poor man’s cigarette, now a prized commodity in Sri Lanka’s war-battered north.

Some of the seizures run into tonnes. The detonators have been found in thousands. The quantity of chemicals totals hundreds of litres.

A vast majority of the findings have been reported from the coastal district of Ramnad, which overlooks Mannar district in northwestern Sri Lanka. Arrests of couriers have been few in relation to the materials seized.

Some of the seized goods were found buried or in safe houses. Others were simply abandoned when the police came too close to catching the messengers. Both Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils have been involved, some for the larger cause and some purely for money.

Indian officials who watch Sri Lanka’s escalating conflict are drawing their conclusions.

The fact that such large quantities are being seized is a sign that much larger quantities are being sought — an indicator of what the LTTE is looking for from the nearest land source in view of the damage suffered by its shipping lines.

The seizures also show that while it may be facing military reverses, the LTTE is in no mood to give up the fight. If anything, it is preparing for a long haul, using stuff smuggled from Tamil Nadu to prepare mines — one of the most lethal weapons in that seemingly unending conflict.

The LTTE uses the lure of its Tamil nationalist ideology and money to procure what it wants from Tamil Nadu, a state it knows well and one separated from Sri Lanka by a narrow strip of sea.

For anything and everything seized, it is safe to conclude that much more must be getting through to Sri Lanka.

And despite claims that the LTTE’s naval wing has weakened considerably, the Tigers are succeeding in navigating past Tamil Nadu’s coastal security and also the Indian and Sri Lankan sea patrols.

According to Indian officials, the LTTE has also tried to build a huge vessel in Kerala and tried to procure mortars from Tamil Nadu.

And as the war escalates, the Tigers’ dependence on Tamil Nadu is only expected to rise.

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News reaching us, from local sources, in the East claim that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are training local Muslim Youths from Akkaraipattu, Amparai and Kaathankudy, Batticaloa and other areas.

It is said that these youths may be affiliated to the Wahabbist Group that is linked to several murders including members of the TMVP. Agents of the LTTE are clandestinely picking up these Muslim youths locally and dispatching them for training in Vanni.

The purpose for the LTTE giving these Muslim youths training is clear as it is their intension to manipulate and make use of the Wahabbist Group to target members of the TMVP and possibly other democratic political groups in the East.

(Asian Tribune)

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Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) today (13th) claimed that they had released 27 child soldiers who were previously recruited by the outfit. According to the LTTE, there are 30 more child soldiers in their ranks, whom they will be releasing in the near future. According to our information, the number of child soldiers still in LTTE’s ranks is more than 100 times the number declared by the tigers. These somewhat humorous claims by the LTTE comes at a time when seven divisions of the Sri Lanka Army are in the process of surrounding LTTE’s northern stronghold.

It is no secret that the LTTE engages in forcible recruitment to expand the manpower of the organization. It is believed that the manpower of LTTE is somewhere between 20000 and 30000, including the so called civilian militia. Child soldiers play a strong role in the outfit, completely different to the one partrayed by LTTE’s claims today. When fresh fighting broke out in 2006, SLA units intercepting LTTE radio transmissions were able to monitor new LTTE formations with new callsigns, indicating that the rebels never stopped recruiting, even during the ceasefire agreement. Most of the less experienced and young fighters of the LTTE are assigned to forward defence line positions to face the battle hardened formations of the Sri Lanka Army. There have been occasions where the Army recovered bodies of child soldiers killed in battle and returned them to the LTTE. In such occasions, pro LTTE Tamilnet could be observed reporting “X number of bodies of youth, which the SLA claims are of LTTE fighters, were handed out” or in a similar format, while never directly accepting that they were in fact child soldiers.

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The Sri Lanka Army is now 5kms from Veduthalthivu sea Tiger base. Tigers are putting up a last ditch effort to prevent the advance into this strategic base. Fighting is concentrated currently in Nedunkandaal North where a 40X30 foot bunker, the largest discovered in recent history was captured.

Currently there are around 40,000 troops converging on the LTTE in Vanni from Mannar, Vavuniya and Weli Oya. These include the 58 from Mannar, 57 from Vavuniya converging on Mannar and the 59 from Weli Oya. Army Commander Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka was in the Vanni today on a tour of inspection and instruction.

The 61 Division joined the fray a few weeks ago. It too will concentrate mainly on Mannar. Sources indicated to this site that neighboring India has expressed an interest in oil explorations off the coast of Mannar.

In the Weli Oya front, the fighting is just beginning. Troops have advanced 8-10 kilometers at certain areas north of Janakapura and Kiriibbanwewa. They recently breached a line of bunkers leading upto the LTTE’s famous 1-4 base (more like a jungle hideout).

The Army is not pushing very hard through Weli Oya. LTTE troop concentration (defence in-depth) is also very high in this area. It is estimated that this operation will last many months. In the meantime, operations will continue in Mannar and Vavuniya, thus surrounding Mullaithivu by land from the south and the west. More details on this operation will continue in the days to come.

Meanwhile the newly formed 3 Sinha Regiment (3SR) passed out today after a grueling training. A team of 120 Engineer Troops also passed out yesterday. Over 300 Special Forces are also preparing to pass-out end of this month.

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