Paramilitary leader shot dead

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 April 2003, 10:48 GMT]
An unidentified gunman shot dead the leader of a paramilitary group working with the Sri Lanka army (SLA) and the Special Task Force (STF), Wednesday around 11.15 a.m. in Aariyampathi, 8 kilometres south of Batticaloa, Police said.

Seenithamby Ranjan, 27, the leader of the feared "Varathan Group," was involved in counter insurgency and intelligence operations with the SLA and the STF for more than eight years in the Batticaloa district.

Widely known as "Varathan," the paramilitary leader also campaigned for the People's Alliance (PA) candidates in the Batticaloa district at the 2001 elections to Sri Lanka Parliament.

Tamil paramilitary sources in the eastern town said Varathan was a corporal in the SLA's National Guard, a territorial unit comprising largely ex-home guards and members of local paramilitaries.

Police sources said the gunman had come on a bike and had fired at Varathan at point blank range, killing the paramilitary leader on the spot.

The Varathan Group operated out of a camp in the premises of the STF camp in front of the Aariyampathi School.

The paramilitary leader was formerly a member of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO). The TELO dismissed him from the party following allegations that he was involved in the torture and murder of civilians in the Aariyampathi area.


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