STF officer killed in claymore attack
[TamilNet, Sunday, 18 June 2000, 12:48 GMT]
The officer in charge of the elite Special Task Force (STF) commando camp in Thirukkovil, 77 kilometers south of Batticaloa, was killed Sunday morning around 11.30 a.m. when a claymore mine fixed to a bicycle exploded.
Thavam, a senior Tamil paramilitary leader in the Ampara district who was operating with the STF in Thirukkovil, was seriously wounded in the blast. The STF OIC, Ajitha Kumara, was cycling with Thavam when the claymore mine was triggered by persons suspected to be operatives of the Liberation Tigers sources said.
Thirukkovil was cordoned off and searched soon after the blast by STF commandos from the local camp and the base in Akkaraipattu. Two civilians were also wounded in the blast. Thirukkovil is a large Tamil village on the southeastern coast of the island.
Thavam was formerly a senior member of the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam who played a crucial role in debilitating the LTTE's operations in the Kanjikudichcha Aaru jungles south west of Thirukkovil in recent years after he began working with the STF.
The STF sources in Thirukkovil said Thavam's assistance was invaluable in striking deep into the jungles where the Liberation Tigers run several supply and training bases and in interdicting most of the LTTE's access routes to the Batticaloa district.