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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Coverage of Suicide Jacket and Explosives Continues: Was there a Plan?

Suicide jacket and explosives found in safe house in the Meesalai area, Chavakachcheri few days ago continue to meke headline news in Sri Lanka. Sinhala nationalist forces are trying to use the incident to their political advantage saying that LTTE is re grouping because of the present government’s de-militarisation process.

The government has responded saying that  “isolated instances” did not constitute threat to national security. “The media and the Opposition are highlighting them, but we take them on the merit of the incident.”

Some of the reports on the recovery of explosives are given below:

Seizure of arms won’t affect demilitarisation: Colombo
T. Ramakrishnan

The recent seizure of a host of arms in Jaffna and Mannar of the Northern Province will not have any adverse bearing on the Sri Lankan government’s plan for demilitarising the North, according to Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi.

“It [demilitarisation] will go on,” Mr. Hettiarachchi told The Hindu on Thursday.

However, he hastened to add that demilitarisation is “not the right word. What we say is right-sizing and right-deployment” of security forces.”

On Wednesday, the police found at a house in Chavakachcheri a suicide kit, four claymore mines, three parcels of C4 (Composition 4) explosives and ammunition, weighing 12 kg, according to Ruwan Gunasekara, a police spokesperson.

In a well in Illuppukadawai of the Mannar district, a stock of explosives, including a Rocket-Propelled Grenade launcher, was spotted. The cache was apparently used during the civil war. A 32-year-old man, said to be the owner of the Chavakachcheri house, had been nabbed in the neighbouring district of Killinochchi, the spokesperson said.

Asked whether the latest development came as a surprise to him, the Defence Secretary said: “Not at all. On the contrary, this only shows the efficiency of the national security system.”

He explained that “isolated instances” did not constitute threat to national security. “The media and the Opposition are highlighting them, but we take them on the merit of the incident.”

Already, members of the Joint Opposition, a coalition of parties and groups owing allegiance to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa argue that the country’s security was in danger.

To a query whether there was any change in the proposed visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to the North on Sunday, Mr. Hettiarachchi replied in the negative.

Meanwhile, a study on the status of occupation of land by the authorities revealed that about 12,750 acres in the Northern Province are still under the military’s control. “Continued land occupation by the military and police fuels suspicion of plans to use land to effect demographic change and ultimately, impact electoral representation of the area. Such fears must be addressed if the GOSL [Government of Sri Lanka] is genuine in its commitment to reconciliation,” states the study, undertaken by the Centre for Policy Alternatives.

It recommended complete implementation of the 13{+t}{+h}constitutional amendment.

Isolated instances did not constitute threat to national security, says defence secretary
The Hindu

Suicide jacket and Tiger cadre in custody: Some startling findings

Suspect’s move facilitated by soldier’s bro; Lethal haul moved to Chava on Sunday night; LTTE combatant, others planning major attack.
By Shamindra Ferdinando.

An LTTE cadre now under interrogation had brought a suicide jacket, four claymore mines, three parcels containing about 12 kgs of TNT, two battery packs as well as 100 rounds of 9mm ammunition to a safe house in the Meesalai area, Chavakachcheri, in the Jaffna on Sunday night.

The police identified the suspect as Edward Julian alias Ramesh (32).

A raiding police party on Tuesday (March 29) night found the armaments in a room. The suspect hadn’t been present at the time of the raid, sources told The Island.

The police arrested the suspect at a check point at Wannerikulam in the Kilinochchi District.

Authoritative sources said the recovered armaments hadn’t been among arms caches left behind by the LTTE at the conclusion of the war in May 2009. Sources said that Chavakachcheri had been liberated during 1995/96 period and was subjected to many ‘security sweeps’ over the years.

Jaffna-based sources said that a woman who had been living with the suspect had complained to Chavakachcheri police that he kept cannabis at home. She was identified as Amudra. The suspect had warned the woman not to enter the room, sources said, adding that the two had often quarrelled as the man had an extra marital affair.

In addition to the police, the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), too, is probing the Chavakachcheri detection.

The informant had been married before and the LTTEer was her third partner. If she had not been assaulted by the main suspect the woman might not have alerted the police, sources said.

Investigations have revealed that the suspect had moved into the safe house in January last year with the help of a person identified as Sivadarshan. Chavakachcheri-based sources said that Sivadarshan had been employed as a heavy vehicle driver and was responsible for facilitating the main suspect securing a safe house. Both Sivadarshan and the main suspect had worked for a Jaffna-based company for about two years.

After having worked as a mason for several months, the suspect had bought a mini truck and subsequently a motorcycle, thereby causing suspicions among the people, sources said.

Sources said the LTTE had recruited suspect as a child soldier at the age of 13 while he was studying at a school at Murunkan, Mannar. According to his family, there had not been any contact with him until he re-emerged after the demise of his mother at the Tellipalai hospital in 2013. The family had believed that Julian had perished during the battle for Puthumathalan in April/May 2009.

Sources said the suspect had lived at Chullipuram, Jaffna with his first wife before leaving her and moving to Meesalai with the help of Sivadarshan.

Sivadarshan has disappeared in the wake of the main suspect’s arrest. Well informed sources told The Island that Sivadarshan’s brother was among those recruited to the Army during the previous administration. After the LTTE had been brought to heel, the previous government resumed recruitment of Tamil soldiers in accordance with an overall plan to promote national reconciliation. The soldier is based at a main camp in the Northern Province was likely to be questioned, sources said, adding that Julian seemed to be an important operative in a well-organised group determined to carry out a major attack.

Authoritative sources told The Island that investigators would try to establish whether the main suspect had been in touch with rehabilitated LTTE cadres. Since the conclusion of the conflict, approximately 12,000 LTTE cadres had been released following rehabilitation. However, thousands had not undergone rehabilitation and, therefore, posed a severe threat; sources said, adding that the main suspect was among those managed to shun rehabilitation programme.

The government is expected to review post-January 2015 presidential poll security measures in the Northern Province in the wake Chavakachcheri detection.

NP Governor: Chava explosives meant to cause destruction

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray yesterday said that the deadly cache detected at Meesalai, Chavakachcheri had been brought there to cause destruction.

The armaments couldn’t have been brought in for a peaceful purpose, Governor Cooray said, asserting that moderates always attracted the wrath of extremists. The NP Governor was addressing the media at his Battaramulla office.

Asked whether President Maithripala Sirisena could have been targeted by the LTTE, Governor Cooray said various theories could be propagated. The former minister said that he could claim that he was being targeted whereas others may claim that various other individuals and places were the likely targets.

Cooray recently succeeded H. M. G. S. Palihakkara, former Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the NP Governor.

Responding to criticism that the Chavakachcheri detection underscored a severe threat posed to national security, Governor Cooray said that a vast majority of people supported on-going post-war national reconciliation process.

However, those who could not stomach the reconciliation process had been engaged in a campaign to sabotage the process, Governor Cooray said. Fresh violence could cause irreparable damage to the on-going initiatives, Governor Cooray said, adding that the vast majority of victims were ordinary civilians from different communities.

Political party leaders had been provided with security, he said. In an obvious reference to extremists on both sides, Governor Cooray said that the on-going reconciliation process was being ridiculed and undermined and the imminent revival of terrorism propagated to cause anxiety among the people.

Cooray said whatever the differences the contentious issues had to be resolved through negotiations.

The media had been divided and fighting a bitter battle with different political parties pursuing contradictory strategies at the expense of post-war national reconciliation. Although 30-year war had been brought to an end in May 2009, reconciliation was yet to be achieved, the former parliamentarian said.

Governor Cooray castigated both Tamil media, including those based in the Jaffna peninsula and Sinhala mainstream media for propagating lies. The Governor cited as an example the recent controversy in the media pertaining to an alleged directive given by the Government Agent of Jaffna to the chief incumbent of Nagadeepa temple not to construct a Buddha statue. He said the media and various interested parties continued to manipulate public opinion for their personal gain. The SLFPer alleged that both Tamil and Sinhala media had failed to reflect actual public opinion much to the disappointment of those unable to express themselves.

Cooray alleged that the coverage of the Nagadeepa controversy was meant to cause turmoil both in the North as well as the South.

The Governor said President Maithripala Sirisena had earned the appreciation of Tamil speaking people and perhaps no other Sinhala leader had received such accolades.

The government was committed to pursuing the path of national reconciliation though challenges remained due to various reasons, particularly the failure on the part of political parties to reach consensus on the national issue, the Governor said.


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