‘No trace of ‘Karuna’ in Batticaloa’s interior’ – LTTE commanders

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 13 April 2004, 14:23 GMT]
Special Forces commanders of the Liberation Tigers in Batticaloa told TamilNet Tuesday that all the LTTE military camps in the district’s interior have been completely checked and cleared. “We have recovered the Batticaloa-Amparai district armoury fully, except for a heavy mortar and some rifles. The ammunition stores are intact”, one of them said. He said that they found several vehicles set on fire in ‘Meenaham’, the LTTE’s largest military base in the east.

“It appears ‘Karuna’ and his associates fled the place in great hurry. We found vehicles half loaded with various items. Our Special Forces strikes in the deep interior put him off balance and must have made him panic. Also many units were refusing to obey his orders and were establishing contact with us. He had clearly lost control of his troops”, he said.

‘Neelan’, a key LTTE operative who was in Karuna’s custody was shot dead by the renegade commander before he fled the Tharavai-Kudumbimalai (Thoppigala) region.

“Civilians in Pondukalchenai, a village in the interior 34 kilometres northwest of Batticaloa town, told us that they saw ‘Karuna’ and some of his associates speeding in a two vehicles towards the ‘Naalaam Muchchanthi’ Junction on the Valaichenai-Polannaruwa Road”, an LTTE Special Forces commander in the Tharavai region said.

He said that special LTTE reconnaissance teams, which combed the forests and remote hamlets of the area, did not find anyone who was closely associated with ‘Karuna’.

The commander dismissed rumours in Batticaloa Tuesday that Karuna and his accomplices were holed up in the dense jungles in the Kallichchai-Vadamunai area, in the northwestern corner of the Tharavai (Thoppigala) region.

“We have checked every nook and cranny in that area. There is no trace of them”, he told TamilNet.

‘Thaaththa’ (Jim Kelly) and Rabert, commanders of the Karuna Group’s armed units, ‘Varathan’, the renegade commander’s spokesman, ‘Kuhanes’, the head finance of the Karuna Group, ‘Jeevendran’, leader of the ‘Visaalahan’ Unit, ‘Nilavini’, leader of the LTTE’s female fighting units in Batticaloa, ‘Thurai’, the cadre overseeing NGOs in the eastern district, ‘Nizam’, the head of TEEDOR, LTTE’s development organisation in Batticaloa, ‘Ilankes’, a close associate and five body guards fled the Tharavai region Sunday night, LTTE sources in the east said.

Meanwhile, ‘Visu’, the person who was appointed head of the Karuna group’s political wing in Batticaloa, has established contact with the LTTE Tuesday and is expected to join up before the weekend, sources said.

 

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