Key Karuna Group commander wounded

[TamilNet, Friday, 09 April 2004, 13:48 GMT]
A key commander of the Karuna Group was seriously wounded when troops of the Liberation Tigers advanced on Vakarai, 62 kilometres north of Batticaloa, in the early hours of Friday morning. ‘Barathithaasan’, commander of the Karuna Group’s Vinothan Unit, wounded in the abdomen, was admitted to the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital. “We will face problems if casualties rise in the coming days because most of our consultants and many medical officers and interns from the north have left”, said a doctor who works there. The Karuna Group forced Tamils of Jaffna to leave Batticaloa last month.

Jaffna doctors who were working in the Batticaloa hospital left the district under Police escort two weeks ago. There were six consultants, six medical officers and twelve interns from the north at the hospital.

Medical services in the district have suffered as a consequence of their departure.

“That the Karuna Group had to send a key commander like ‘Barathithaasan’ here for treatment shows that its medical facilities are inadequate to meet casualties from major battles”, said a medical officer at the Teaching Hospital in Batticaloa.

The head of the LTTE’s medical corps for the Batticaloa-Amparai District, Dr. Vaman, went to Kilinochchi after Karuna declared that he was going to operate independently in the east in early March. Most of the LTTE medical officers who were working with Dr. Vaman left with him to the north after the split.

Sources in Batticaloa said that Varathan, renegade commander Karuna’s (Mr. Vinayagamoorthy Muraleetharan) aide, visited the wounded at the Batticaloa hospital, sources said.

Meanwhile, residents of Vakarai said that hundreds of LTTE troops are continuing to consolidate their positions in Paalchenai, 66 kilometres north of Batticaloa.

The LTTE forces in the area are exhorting scattered units of the Karuna Group over loud hailers to surrender without fear, according to one of them who arrived in Valaichenai Friday evening.


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