2nd Lead (Adds corrections)

SL Government admits SLA complicity in Karuna affair

[TamilNet, Thursday, 24 June 2004, 10:39 GMT]
Contradicting Defense Secretary Cyril Herath who denied Monday that Sri Lanka Army (SLA) gave shelter to renegade commander Muralitharan (alias Karuna), Information Minister of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government, Mangala Samaraweera, admitted to the press today that the SLA helped Karuna "escape and wage a covert war of attrition against the Tamil Tigers" according to a BBC report from Colombo today.

Mangala Samaraweera
Sri Lanka's Information Minister, Mangala Samaraweera (Photo: AFP)
Mr Samaraweera also told the BBC that "an informal inquiry is being held into the incident . He described the incident as "rather disturbing" and an attempt to sabotage the peace process, the report said.

The Minister "stressed this was without the knowledge of the government" and said that "this assistance to a rebel defector was actually a plot by the opposition to sabotage the government's chances of doing a peace deal with the Tamil Tigers," the report said.

The admission comes under the wake of denial issued by Defense Secretary, Cyril Herath, who told the BBC Sinhala Service Sandeshya Monday: "I categorically deny the allegations by the LTTE that GoSL is providing shelter to Karuna. These are just allegations and if the LTTE can provide evidence, the GoSL will investigate the matter."

Meanwhile, the main opposition United National Party (UNP) in a press release Wednesday reiterated its policy of non-interference in the internal matters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and said that it is investigating one of its national list parliamentarian Mr.Ali Zahir Moulana Seyed who had admitted to giving Karuna safe passage to Colombo from east on April 11 following the outbreak of revolt.

Mr.Moulana submitted his resignation to his party leadership after admitting helping Karuna escape from Batticaloa.



Women defectors from Karuna group
Four senior LTTE women cadres who first revealed Karuna's whereabouts to the press (L-R) Theenthamil, Lavanya, Premini and Nilavini (Photo: EelaNaatham)

 

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