- KP’s interview and intelligence findings
LTTE’s head of international relations, Selvaraja Pathmanathan alias Kumaran Pathmanathan’s description of the final hours of the LTTE’s senior leadership detailed extensively in his interview with an Indian news media corroborates with the information of the Sri Lankan military agencies, but barring one episode, which now has raised concerns of the military officials.
Pathmanathan claims that Duvaraka, the daughter of the LTTE leader was killed in the fighting along with her elder brother Charles Anthony. The Military intelligence had however been unaware of the plight of Duvaraka as well as Prabhakaran’s wife Mathivathini-Pathmanathan also claims that he was unaware of the plight of Mathivathini.
Prabhakaran’s parents are now sheltered in an IDP camp had told the military officials that Mathivathini and Duvaraka did not live with the Tiger chieftain during the last two weeks. Prabhakaran’s parents had lived with the Tiger chieftain till May 17, a day before he was believed to have met his maker. Prabhakaran had advised his parents to leave with the civilians, apparently after an abortive Tiger attack on the positions of 56 Division in the early hours of May 17, the Sunday. On the same day, night, Prabhakaran attempted one last attempt and was killed in the wee hours of the next day by an army commando, who took away the Tiger leader’s pistol and the belt, but, could not identify that his kill was the most wanted man in the country. Later soldiers of the Vijayaba Regiment found the body of the slain Tiger chieftain.
Whereabouts of Duvaraka and Mathivathini are not known to the military, though some officers confided that the youngest son of the Tiger chieftain, Balachandran was also killed during the battle. Earlier, a pro- LTTE website hosted in Canada reported that Mathivathini and Duvarka had fled to India, from where they had boarded a Canada bound flight, using forged passports. However, this claim had not been substantiated by the Indian intelligence services, which have been extremely cooperative with their Sri Lankan counterparts in intelligence sharing in recent times.
Link with Soosai
Another expose in KP’s interview was that he was in contact with the Sea Tiger leader, Soosai till the last moment of the battle, which tallies with findings of the military intelligence. According to the intercepted communications, Soosai had commanded the battle to the very end. KP had also referred to his efforts to get the international community to negotiate a ceasefire, adding that it was unsuccessful as the Sri Lankan government demanded an unconditional surrender, which limited the space for the maneuverings by the international community.
Wecan confirm that KP himself and the LTTE political leader, Nadeshan telephoned two senior government officials on May 17, to announce the surrender after a pre-dawn attempt on the same day to break through the positions of the 56 division in the place called “Dara Point” was foiled. The government turned down the offer, claiming that it was too late. Also, by that point, commandos and Special Forces had launched the final assault and there could not have been any turn back of the military mission.
KP says that he has been in contact with Ram, who is the senior most surviving leader of the LTTE. Ram led a group of LTTE cadres operating from the Kanchiku-duchchuaru jungles and was responsible for a string of bomb explosions last year. According to KP, Ram has silenced his guns in line with a decision announced by Prabhakaran days before his death. However, LAKBIMA nEWS understands that Ram himself once offered to surrender, however changed his mind after 11 LTTE cadres were killed in the Kanchikudichchiaru jungles in late May.
KP in the interview had demanded a security guarantee for the surrender of the remaining eastern cadres, including Ram. The elimination of Ram and Nakulan would complete the annihilation of the first and second rung leadership of the LTTE.
The military on its part, rules out special security guarantees, and vows to comb eastern jungles till the last Tiger cadre is flushed out from the East.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan military is undergoing reforms to meet the future challenges. Accordingly, the local military doctrine, which hitherto concentrated on internal threats, would be transformed to include deterrence to external threat.
The prime concern, according to military planners, is an intervention by a mercenary army funded by the Tamil Diaspora.
A threat assessment includes three elements: Capability, intention and vulnerability. True that, the hard-line sections of the Tamil Disapora would be pleased to disrupt the security situation in Sri Lanka, hence, there is intention, but their capability to assemble a mercenary army to match the conventional army of the Sri Lankan state is open to question. Yet, the Sri Lankan military plans to minimize its vulnerability to a mercenary landing through the new reforms, under which the position of Chief of Defence Staff would be granted with extensive powers to develop a doctrine for the joint development of the armed forces. Accordingly, the CDS position, which was just a nominal appointment earlier gets legal status and will function as the head of the country’s armed forces. This was a part of the government’s 10-year re -organization plan re-organization of the armed forces.
The Sri Lankan Army itself is undergoing expansion. Two new Security Forces Head Quarters had been set up in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu in addition to the existing Security Forces Headquarters in Jaffna, Vanni and East.
The military divisions which had been concentrated in the Wanni region would be reorganized and brought under the newly established Security Forces Headquarters.
Accordingly, SFHQ (Kilinochchi) would have offensive divisions, namely the 57 Division, Task Force 3, Task Force 8 and Defensive Divisions, namely Task Force 5 and Task Force 6 under its control. The Security Forces Head Quarters, Mullaitivu would have under its wing the 59 Division, Task Force 2, Task Force 4 and Area Head Quarters, Weli Oya.
The 21 Division, 56 Division, 61 Division and Area Head Quarters, Mannar would come under the wing of the Security Forces Headquarters, Vanni.
The Security Forces Head Quarters, Jaffna would have 55 Division, 51 Division, 52 Division and Task Force 7 under its control.
The 53 Division and 58 Division would be kept as the reserve Divisions under the direct command of the Commander of the Army. In addition, in order to increase the mobility of the troops, a regiment of Special Forces and a Regiment of Commandos would be assigned to each Security Forces Head Quarters. The Sri Lanka Air Force is also planning to set up an air base in the former Tiger air strip in Iranamadu. Sri Lanka is one of the few countries, of which the main international airport has been used by combat aircraft.
However, the relocation of the Kfir and MIG 27 squadrons, which used the Katunayake International Airport to another location, did not materialize due to various reasons in the past. Kfir Interceptors require a runway of minimum 1000 meters in length for their take off, but the none of the military air strips in the country was long enough. An earlier plan to relocate the Kfir squadron to Sigiriya was also abandoned after environmental and ecological concerns of the archeological site were raised. However, with the recent developments, chances are that the Kfir and MIG Squadrons would be relocated to Iranamadu or Mulliyawelli, where the Tigers had a 3.5 km long runway.