During the final days of the genocidal war in Vanni when the international community was repeatedly urging Colombo to cease attacks on the ‘safe zone’, the SL President and Commander-in-Chief of the SL armed forces Mahinda Rajapaksa admitted to a top US envoy that his military had deployed Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) missions, also known as Deep Penetration Units (DPU) inside the so-called safe-zone to “organize people to breach the LTTE earth bunds.” Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa has ‘confidentially’ shared this military secret to Charge d’Affaires of the US embassy James R. Moore, while holding a meeting with Co-Chair Ambassadors in Colombo, barely two week before Colombo massacred thousands of civilians and claimed military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The DPU deployment of SL forces within the safe-zone has been revealed in the Wikileaks documents brought out by the Norwegian paper Aftenposten earlier this year.
“The President then claimed that Government forces would not shell civilian areas, confiding that the Army has Deep Penetration Units (Tamil-speaking agents operating in LTTE-controlled areas) within the safe zone who are attempting to organize people to breach the LTTE earth bunds and allow civilians to escape,” Charge d’Affaires of the US embassy James R. Moore has been quoted as saying in his note to the Secretary of State, with a copy to the White House on 05 May 2009.
SL President Rajapaksa shared this sensitive military secret with the US envoy while his government and its external abettors were engaged in a full-scale propaganda war charging that it was the Tamil Tigers who were carrying out attacks against civilians inside the “safe zone” as their last bid to prevent them from fleeing the war zone in the island’s north.
Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry went one step further and released a video footage, alleged to have been recorded by the Un-Manned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), in which two men were seen rounding up and shooting at a group of civilians at a coastal area.
“This could well be the work of the DPU desperately aimed at neutralising the mounting international pressure with the President claiming that they too were deployed to carry out attacks,” said a Tamil doctor who served at the makeshift hospital in Mu’l’livaaykkaal in the final days.
The specially raised military’s elite Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) missions, also known as Deep Penetration Units, functioning directly under the Commands of Directorate of Military Intelligence and Special Forces, were believed to have been trained by the special forces of the US and Israel on how to carry out stealth operations inside the enemy territories.
The DPU was known for targeted assassinations of key LTTE members, Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians, humanitarian workers and human rights activists inside the LTTE administered Vanni.
The Sri Lankan forces, especially under the coordination by SL presidential sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and SL Intelligence Chief Major General Kapila Hendawitharana, deployed Deep Penetration Units and paramilitary groups in destabilizing the Ceasefire Agreement between the LTTE and the GoSL, facilitated and monitored by the Norwegian government.
The DPU pin-pointed civilian targets, such as the SLAF massacre that killed 51 school girls and four staff on civil training at Chengchoalai premises. The DPU has been responsible for a number of claymore attacks that claimed the lives of patients and medical personnel travelling in ambulances, priests involved in humanitarian and human rights and Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians.
If Sri Lankan President himself has said that such lethal military units were carrying out operations inside the SL government-designated safe-zone, the importance of such operations and the magnitude of the disasters they could have caused to the war-hit civilians cannot be underestimated.
“Truth may be the first casualty of any war, but it never dies and will somehow surface one day,” commented a Colombo based Tamil lawyer on the revelation of LRRP presence inside the “safe zone”.
“With the Cat is now out of the bag, these accusations and counter-accusations have to be investigated and verified independently, but it is incumbent on the part of the powerful international community, including the UN to create an environment where the living witnesses of the systematic genocide could be testified independently without fear of reprisals,” said the lawyer based in Colombo.