2nd Lead (Adds background)

Key Karuna associate shot dead in Batticaloa jail

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 July 2004, 03:13 GMT]
A key associate of the renegade commander was assassinated inside the Batticaloa prison in the early hours of the morning Thursday. Police and army surrounded the prison as the gunman who shot dead 'Satchi Master' and another associate of Karuna climbed the jail roof with his handgun and a grenade. He surrendered to Police in the presence of the ICRC and truce monitors later around 10.45 p.m.

Two non LTTE prisoners were wounded in the attack.

Tigers have charged that Satchi Master was acting as Karuna's spokesman from his prison cell under the name 'Maran' with connivance of the Sri Lankan military intelligence.

The Tigers sacked ‘Satchi Master’ (Mr. Kanapathipillai Mahendran) from their military in the Amparai district in 2002, accusing him of embezzling funds entrusted to him for purchasing supplies for their camps in the Kanjikudichcha Aaru jungles.

Soon after declaring that he was separating from the LTTE, the renegade regional leader ‘Karuna’ recalled ‘Satchi Master’ and made him military commander for the Amparai District.

Police in Kattankudy, five kilometres south of Batticaloa arrested ‘Satchi Master’ and four of his men while travelling in a van with weapons and grenades in March.

Police sources in Batticaloa said that Satchi Master’s vehicle was apprehended in Batticaloa town the same day but was released after an officer from the local unit of the Sri Lanka army intelligence intervened and secured their release.

But Kattankudy Police had sought a written request from the SLA intelligence when it intervened again to seek the release of ‘Satchi Master’ and his colleagues later that day.

The four were remanded when they were produced in Batticaloa courts on 31 March 2004. As there is no bail for the illegal possession of dangerous weapons, their remand continues to be extended.


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