Former Army Chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka last week recalled how those involved in the April 25, 2006 suicide attempt on his life had planned the attack with the help of a soldier receiving medical treatment at the Military Hospital. Making a dock statement in the White Flag trial-at-bar at the Colombo High Court, Fonseka said that his soldier-cook had co-operated with the LTTE Intelligence.
He alleged that a top LTTE operative who was a Muslim had entered Army Headquarters posing as relative of the soldier recovering from injuries sustained in a motor cycle accident at Modera.
According to the outspoken Fonseka, who contested the last presidential poll as the common Opposition candidate, the LTTE had targeted him since 2002.
Had the LTTE suicide attacks on Fonseka and the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (on Dec 1, 2006) been successful, the government wouldn’t have survived the LTTE conventional military challenge.
Gen. Fonseka was the first Army Commader to survive a suicide attack. Vice Admiral Clancy Fernando was the only service commander to die in an LTTE suicide attack during the entire conflict.
The Sinha Regiment veteran went on to say that LTTE Intelligence Wing leader Pottu Amman had stationed a second suicide cadre near the Slave Island Railway Station to target him had he survived the blast and was rushed in an ambulance to the National Hospital.
Believing he was killed instantaneously, Pottu Amman had moved the second suicide attacker out of the scene, Fonseka said.
Investigators subsequently arrested the suspect, Siddique, who had worked for the general for more than four years before the facilitating the attack. The chief LTTE operative, on the pretext of visiting the cook warded at the Military Hospital, had carried out surveillance and brought in the woman suicide cadre, too, to help her familiarize herself with the surroundings.
Under interrogation the suspect revealed that that the LTTE made contact with him during his stint in Jaffna whn the Ceasefire Agreement was in force.
The suspect from Akurana had served with the Seventh Armour before Gen. Fonseka chose his as his personal cook. Earlier, the suspect had served Maj. Gen. Sarath Munasinghe, but wasn’t involved with the LTTE at that time.The police said that Sidique committed suicide while in the custody of law enforcement officers.
Fonseka went on to say how Gotabhaya Rajapaksa visited him and inquired why he wasn’t wearing body armour at the time of the suicide attack, whereas he received body armour from him.
During his dock statement, Gen. Fonseka also revealed the identity of a serving Maj. Gen., who had received Rs. 30,000 a month from the LTTE. The former Chief of Defence Staff alleged that the senior officer’s relationship with the LTTE had come to light during investigations conducted by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID).
Top lawyer Gomin Dayasri sometime back told The Sunday Island the then chief LTTE negotiator Anton Balasingham during a meet in Geneva early 2006 (before the attempt on Gen. Fonseka’s life) boasted the LTTE had its agents among the Sri Lankan security establishment.
UPFA MP Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle told The Sunday Island that SP Lakshman Cooray had helped the LTTE to assassinate her husband Jeyaraj. Cooray, the son of one-time SLFP provincial councillor ,is in police custody over his alleged involvement in the Fernandopulle assassination and other LTTE plots.
Dr. Fernandopulle said that the LTTE wouldn’t have cared how it achieved a target as long as they succeeded.
Several other military personnel are also in custody over their alleged involvement with assassination attempts including an operation targeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa. An army officer is alleged to have tried to move a suicide cadre past the police guarding the President during a function in Colombo.