The leadership provided by 12 Sinha Regiment (SR), to kill Prabhakaran`s son Charles Anthony, has come in for much praise.
12 SR was commanded by Major Anil Perera. The second-in-command was Major Lakshman Wedagama.
At the time the Tiger hierarchy were planning to escape to the Nanthikadal lagoon from Wellamullaivaikkal, 12 SR’s Bravo Company led by Captain Sumedha Nayiduwa, were guarding the camp of the second defense line, where the fleeing IDPs were being screened.
Around 2:45 am on May 17, a group of top Tiger leaders posing off as civilians, were moving along the bank of the lagoon, towards the camp. Three 8-member groups under the command of Major Thushara Silva were on duty at the IDP screening point at the time. Cpl. Liyanage, who was fluent in Tamil, went forward and advised the advancing group to turn back, as IDPs fleeing in the night were not welcome. Despite the warning to return after daybreak, the group kept advancing, when troops of 17 Gemunu Watch fired into air to scare them away. This seemed to be the signal for the Tigers posing as civilians to rush forward firing at the troops. About 100 Tigers led by Charles Anthony managed to breach the forward defense line.
While troops fought the advancing Tigers, three 8-member groups went into action to block their access to the jungle. A 4-member group led by LCpl Madhusankha Kurundugahapitiya, meanwhile, managed to close in on a small group of cornered Tigers, including Charles Anthony. Kurundugahapitiya was ably assisted by gunners A.P. Sri Lal, A.N. Upayanga and Sampath. Sri Lal and Upayanga were killed in the ensuing firefight. However, Kurundugahapitiya along with Sampath kept advancing while firing with their MPMG machine guns. The machine gunfire felled the Tigers like slashed plantain trees.
Once the guns fell silent, LCpl Kurundugahapitiya took a count of the Tiger bodies and recovered their weapons, A state-of-the-art pistol used only by top Tiger leaders and a satellite phone were among the items LCpl Kurundugahapitiya had collected.
The LCpl learnt for the first time that the pistol and the satellite phone he had recovered belonged to Charles Anthony, only when he handed them over to his superior officer around 5:30 am.
LCpl Kurundugahapitiya from Kegalle, was a comparatively new recruit with two years in the Army. He had joined the Army as a gunner and promoted LCpl, for his prowess with his MPMG machine gun at the battle at Vishwamadu. Thanks to the bravery of this soldier who fought with great valour, despite the death of two of his colleagues, a much wanted Tiger like Charles Anthony was killed. Among others who brought honour to the Sinha Regiment were Cpl Liyanage, Sgt Nimalsiri and gunner Kumara, who will also be remembered as great heroes for years to come.