'Mole' kills leader of SLA penetration team
[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 August 2001, 00:35 GMT]
A soldier of a Sri Lanka army deep penetration group was killed in the early hours of the morning Saturday when he was shot by another trooper of the unit that was lying in ambush at Kurinjamunai junction inside the area held by the Liberation Tigers west of Batticaloa town. The trooper got away with the weapons of his dead team leader. Both men are from the SLA's National Guard. Military sources in Batticaloa said that the trooper who got away was an LTTE 'mole'.
However, media sources said that he was introduced to the local press by the SLA at its brigade headquarters in the eastern town on 17 March. The youth told the presspersons that he had been a supporter of the LTTE's political wing.
He told journalists that he deserted the LTTE and surrendered to the SLA when he came to know that the Tigers was planning to conscript and send him off for military training.
The SLA officers who called the press meet claimed that the youth had surrendered at the military camp in Vavunathivu, near Batticaloa town on 15 March. A photo of the youth holding an assault rifle was published in the Thinakathir, the daily newspaper published in the eastern town, on 18 March.
Tamil paramilitary sources working with the SLA in Batticaloa said he was subsequnetly recruited by the National Guard unit in Batticaloa (formerly known as the Razeek group) mainly with the view to help deep penetration and infiltration teams to operate in the LTTE held areas in the hinterland of the district.
"He was also expected to identify LTTE leaders for ambush parties operating inside LTTE held areas," a member of a paramilitary familiar with the youth said.
He added that the death of Sembaapodi Mehanathan, 37, (nom de guerre Kutti) was a setback for special military infiltration operations of the SLA into the hinterland of the Batticaloa district which is controlled by the Tigers. Mehanathan was formerly a cadre of the EPRLF. He worked with the Indian army in 1988-90 and then joined the SLA when Delhi pulled out its troops from the north and east of the island.
SLA deep penetration teams have stepped up operations in the east and in the Vanni recently, according to Tamil press reports. Thirty claymore mines aimed at the movements of LTTE leaders in the western hinterland of Batticaloa were discovered by the LTTE since 14 June, local press sources said. A claymore mine meant to hit a local LTTE leader at Thumpankerni, 26 kilometres southwest of Batticaloa blasted a lorry carrying bricks on 29 July, according to them.
Nizam, a senior LTTE operative was killed in a claymore blast in the interior of Batticaloa's hinterland on 14 June.