3rd lead (Adds detail)

STF trooper wounded in landmine blast

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 May 2005, 12:25 GMT]
A trooper of the elite Special Task Force (STF) was injured when the vehicle he was driving was hit by a claymore land mine which detonated at around 9.30am near the 9th milepost on the Monaragala-Ampara Road, police sources said. The blast might have been linked to the presence of Karuna Group cadres in the following vehicle, which the STF was escorting, Police and the Army said.

The Defender, being driven by the Constable Kalansuriya, was one of two STF jeeps escorting a Prison Department bus, which was transporting some prisoners to the Monaragala Prison, they said.

The STF is the elite counter-insurgency arm of the Sri Lankan police.

Contradicting the police sources, the Sri Lanka Army however said the bus was taking prisoners to the Ampara court.

The SLA blamed the LTTE for the claymore blast, saying that amongst the prisoners was a member of the Karuna Group, J. B. Kugan Kiran, 20.

Reports said that Kugan Kiran is in fact Iniyabharathy, a senior deputy of the renegade LTTE commander, Karuna.

But the Police told The Island newspaper that the blast might also have been triggered by the Karuna Group in a bid to free Iniyabharathy and two other cadres being transported.

Police told The Island that though the device was set off it failed to directly hit any of the three vehicles causing only negligible damage only to one.

Karuna, the LTTE’s former commander for Batticaloa-Amparai defected to the SLA following the collapse of his rebellion against the LTTE leadership in April last year.

Since then, Karuna is accused of waging a shadow war against the LTTE with the assistance of Sri Lankan military intelligence.

The Sunday Leader newspaper reported earlier this month that Iniyabharathy and a Muslim companion, M. M. Fowzer were arrested accidently at a check post in Amparai, when a random check found a 9mm pistol and ammunition.

Suggesting that Iniyabharathy is implicated in the abduction and murder of Tamil political columnist and military analyst, Dharmeratnam Sivaram, the Sunday Leader said his name had already transpired in many violent incidents in the Batticaloa - Polonnaruwa District border areas.

 

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