LRRP infiltration demolishes impregnable Tiger terrain myth

March 11th, 2008

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The war between the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres has been conventional as well as unconventional.

A significant feature of the unconventional war fought by the GOSL is the deployment of deep penetration assassinationn squads known as Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols or LRRP.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Kittinan Sivanesan (51) was killed in a claymore mine last week in the Kanagrayankulam region of the Northern mainland known as the Wanni. The area was under the control of the LTTE.

[6th March, after the explosion that killed the TNA Parliamentarian-pic TN]

The LTTE accused the army’s deep penetration unit (DPU) of being responsible. This was promptly denied. Interestingly the LTTE refers to the LRRP squads as DPU for some reason.

Instrument of war

The assassination of Sivanesan has once again focused the spotlight on the LRRP/DPU phenomenon that is becoming a crucial factor in the current war.

The LRRP became an instrument of war by the armed forces since the turn of this century. Basic modus operandi of the LRRP is for small groups to clandestinely infiltrate territory controlled by the LTTE and target senior tiger leaders and key operatives. This is done in two ways.

One is to infiltrate tiger territory through jungle routes, conduct an operation and return. Sometimes the operatives stay in safe houses within LTTE controlled areas for days to do this. On other occasions they camp in the jungles and lie in wait for several hours to take on their target.

The usual method is to explode claymore mines with remote devices. In some instances timers have been used. Pressure mines too have been used on a few occasions. It is presumed that these attacks are planned and executed on the strength of precise intelligence .

The other method has been to co-opt civilians living in the Wanni to “plant” mines and target tiger leaders. This is done through bribery and coercion. In some cases some LTTE oppressed civilians nursing a grudge against the tigers have become willing tools.

The usage of hit squads to assassinate the enemy has been practised by different states and different armies in different situations. Despite the “heroic glamour” surrounding these teams they are in essence glorified assassination squads .

‘Legitimately’ sanctioned ‘illegitimate’ operatives

So legitimate states and governments do not like to claim credit for these operations. Those involved in such operations are “legitimately” sanctioned “illegitimate” operatives.

Since they are usually controlled by intelligence officials these operatives are like spies in enemy territory.If successful they are rewarded “quietly” within the organizational structure. If they fail or are caught in the act they are disowned. They are “heroes” who cannot be honoured publicly.

Propagandists may try and project these operations as romantic adventures but by their intrinsic nature these fall under the “covert warfare” category. So officially these acts are not publicised and are usually unacknowledged or denied.

There are other reasons too for keeping these operations and particulars of those involved under wraps.Those engaged in such operations do not want to publicise them because of concern that they or their loved ones may be victimised if identities are exposed.

The other is that those residents in enemy territory who were collaborating with the hit squads may be rendered vulnerable if more details were publicised. Also there is the danger of the enemy gaining insight into the methods used if too much publicity is given.

All these reasons necessitate an environment of secrecy around such clandestine operations. Globally , this is the usual practice .

This was how Sri Lanka too conducted these operations in the beginning during the Chandrika Kumaratunga regime. When tiger leaders were being targeted and the LTTE began accusing state backed deep penetration units the Govt officially denied responsibility. Instead state propaganda blamed internal squabbles within the LTTE.

It was the ceasefire agreement of 2002 which first “admitted” officially to the existence of LRRP’s by stating in the CFA that all such activity would cease.

Then came the bizarre drama where a so called ’safe house” of the LRRP was raided in millennium city, Athurugiriya and five occupants arrested. After protracted wrangling they were released.

Then came the bizarre drama where a so called ’safe house” of the LRRP was raided in millennium city and five occupants arrested. It was alleged then that these men were linked to one of the sons of Anuruddha Ratwatte and were plotting to assassinate Ranil Wickremasinghe.

After protracted wrangling these men were “released” but in a peculiar twist some of them rushed to the media with their story. They also threatened legal action against the government. This was perhaps the only instance where so called members of a clandestine outfit like an LRRP squad owned up that they were part of a covert operation and threatened to sue the Government.

It also transpired that the so called safe house belonged to the wife of a senior LRRP team leader and that rent was being paid.This was another first in the annals of covert operations where a clandestine squad was paying rent to the spouse of a fellow – operative to use a house as a secret safe house.

Later one of these so called LRRP operatives was sent abroad as defence attache in one of our embassies abroad. At the end of his term there was an orchestrated hue and cry about the man and family disappearing. As usual the LTTE was blamed. It was later discovered that the family was safe and sound as refugee claimants in a western country.

These jocular antics by certain elements should not obscure the fact that the usage of LRRP squads has become a powerful weapon in the security force arsenal. Recent events indicate that these squads have developed into killing machines of devastating efficiency.

Balagalle’s brainchild

It is said that the LRRP was a brainchild of former army commander Lionel Balagalle who had conceived the project earlier as head of military intelligence. The green light was given during Chandrika Kumaratunga’s second Presidential term.

When the LRRP teams came into existence three different agencies were involved in setting them up and running them.

Fundamentally the LRRP teams were a combination of disgruntled ex-tigers, members of anti-tiger Tamil groups, Muslim militants and carefully selected Sinhala personnel. They were given highly specialised “commando” type training here and abroad.

The first phase of LRRP operations commenced in 2001 in both the northern and eastern tiger controlled regions.

Among those killed in the East were Lt. Col Nizam LTTE intelligence head for Batticaloa district, Major Mano LTTE comminications chief for Batticaloa – Amparai and two artillery specialists Major Sathiyaseelan and Capt Thevathasan. Among those killed in the North were “Col” Shankar head of the LTTE air wing and Lt. Col Kangai Amaran the sea tiger commander.

Of those who narrowly escaped death at the hands of the LRRP in the North then were former political commissar Brig. Suppiah Paramu Thamilselvan (twice) , his deputy Major S. Thangan, Vavuniya special commander “Col” Jeyam and Deputy military chief “Col” Balraj. Of those who escaped death in the East were former regional chief “Col” Karuna, Eastern political commissar Karikalan, Jeyanthan regiment chief Jim Kelly Thatha and regional intelligence chief Lt. Col Ramaan.

LTTE out for blood

LRRP activity was shelved after the ceasefire.Most of the Tamil LRRP operatives had been absorbed into army ranks. The LTTE was out for their blood.Some of these men were allegedly betrayed to the LTTE by influential persons for large amounts of money.

On 16th January 2002 V. Vidyarathan, alias ‘Mike’, head of the paramilitary intelligence unit of the Army’s Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol was seized by the LTTE and executed four days later . On 10th February 2002 Lance Corporal “Clarry” was abducted and killed by the tigers.

On 3rd July 2002, Lance Cpl Saundrarajan was captured by the LTTE and later killed. On December 11, 2002, Cpl. Ganeshamoorthi alias Thilakaraj was killed. Lance Cpl Pulendrarasa was killed on 3rd January 2003. Cpl.Kadirgamathamby Ragupathi alias Ragu was shot dead in Colombo on 18th March 2003.

On April 26 2003, Lance Cpl Kalirasa Devarasa was killed by the LTTE at Dehiwela, just 45 minites after leaving the Army Transition Camp at Kohuwela.Lance Cpl Paramanathan Ravindrakumar was shot on 15th July 2003 but survived the attack.

Apart from these Tamil LRRP operatives the tigers also targeted important members of the Tamil armed groups collaborating with the army and described by the LTTE as para – military.

Sinnathambi Ranjan alias Varadan who led a breakaway TELO group working with the army was shot dead at Aaraiyampathy.

More importantly PLOTE Mohan who led the PLOTE faction working with the security forces was shot dead in Colombo.

Razeek the chief of the EPRLF faction working with the army was killed by the LTTE during the war itself when a suicide bomber targeted him Batticaloa town. .

LRRP renaissance

It appeared that the LRRP was now toothless as the key Tamil operatives who knew tiger terrain and acted as guides, pathfinders, safehouse providers and information gatherers were either eliminated or had fled abroad.But the LRRP concept experienced a renaissance when the ceasefire unravelled.

The election of Mahinda Rajapakse as President and the appointment of Sarath Fonseka as Army chief and Gotabhaya Rajapakse as defence secretary brought about a qualitative change in the security situation. With the LTTE playing into Colombo’s hands a determined no holds barred war effort was underway.

The revival of the LRRP’s was a key element in this new war strategy. Some of the hibernating old timers were recalled.

Fresh input was gained through the induction of the LTTE brealaway faction headed by Karuna. Some other northern LTTE deserters were also inducted.

The PLOTE possessing some clout in Vavuniya also contributed some input. Above all there were now several highly trained “Sinhala” operatives with knowledge and experience of the jungle terrain.

The usage of LRRP squads became a powerful weapon in the security force arsenal. Recent events indicate that these squads have developed into killing machines of devastating efficiency.

These “new” LRRP teams have been in operation for quite some time now. There have been successes and failures and also “unclaimable successes”.

Tit for tat

Chief among the claimed successes was the killing of LTTE head of military intelligence Shanmuganathan Ravichandran alias “Col” Arulvendhan a.k.a. Charles who was killed in Mannar district on Jan 5th this year.

Apart from this the LRRP has targeted several other LTTE leaders too. One of those targeted and injured was Lt. Col Kumaran who was manning defences in the Manal Aaru/Weli Oya region.

There have been also incidents where civilians have been victimised through LRRP activity.

In most cases these were “accidents” though there are a few deliberate acts perpetrated as tit for tat. Meeting terror by terror is part of this Government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

For instance a schoolbus carrying schoolgirls was targeted in Mannar as revenge for the LTTE attacking a bus with schoolchildren in Moneragala.

Likewise the killing of TNA’s Sivanesan on the way to Mallavi can be construed as quid pro quo for DM Dassanayake’s killing on the way to Kotte.

But these acts though “successful” will always be “unclaimable” and denied due to politically negative consequences.

There have also been instances where ambulance vehicles were targeted by LRRP groups. Apparently there was method in this madness as the LTTE was using ambulances to transport key leaders.

There was also the incident where a vehicle carrying women and children being landmined near Silavathurai in Mannar when a military operation was in progress. This vehicle too belonged to a tiger leader but tragically many of his relatives were using it to flee the area.

LTTE under strain

The LTTE is under severe strain due to LRRP activity. One reason for LRRP successes is growing resentment within Wanni residents against the LTTE. Some are clandestinely helping the LRRP.

The LTTE intelligence division is trying hard to check this and hundreds of Tamils were detained and interrogated.

In one case an entire family was executed on charges of accommodating LRRP members at their house. In another instance the father of a “Maaveeran”( great hero) LTTE martyr was punished for allegedly being in possession of explosive devices.

The LRRP attacks along with precise aerial bombardment of high profile LTTE targets has caused a sea change in the LTTE way of life in the Wanni.

Routes are changed frequently and no longer do important leaders travel in convoys. Clearing of routes is also done as much as possible.

The “Ellai Padai” (border force)civilian militia along with women brigades and leopard Commando units are used to guard the borders. The extent of the area and jungle terrain make these borders porous.

LTTE media organs used to mock leaders in Colombo for their elaborate security precautions and projected an image that they are living in fear.

With the situation being reversed many LTTE leaders are now resorting to drastic security measures and precautions for reasons of personal safety.

Underestimation

In a bid to stave off charges of LRRP complicity in the killing of Sivanesan some defenders of the state have argued that it happened 22 miles to the north of army control lines and was therefore impossible.

These defenders in their zeal to deny state responsibility are actually underestimating LRRP capabilities.

In recent times there have been many LRRP operations deep in the interior of LTTE territory. This was the case when the LRRP was in its initial phase of 2001 too.

It must be remembered that the successful attack on “Col” Shankar happened in tiger heartland along the Oddusuddan-Puthukuditiruppu road in Mullaitheevu district.
Lt. Col Kangai Amaran was killed in Aanaivilunthaan in Mannar district near Akkarayan kulam in the Kilinochchi district.

The unsuccessful attack on SP Thamilselvan happened in Kokkavil in Kilinochchi district.

Compared to those the Sivanesan incident occurred comparatively “closer” in the Vavuniya district.

The current reality is that LRRP squads can proceed deep into tiger territory from either the Mannar mainland jungles or the Manal Aaru /Weli Oya region jungles. They can also proceed parallel to the A – 9 highway on either side via jungle routes.

Those familiar with Wanni areas say that there are several footpaths and elephant trails criss – crossing the Jungles that can be used. So LRRP teams going in deep is not impossible.

Demolishing the myth

What is happening now is that the invincibility myth surrounding the tigers is being eroded.Also the LRRP successes are demolishing the myth about LTTE terrain being impregnable.

But the man who made a mockery of tiger territory impregnability was none other than former deputy defence minister Anuruddha Ratwatte.

His helicopter crashlanded inside tiger terrain more than a decade ago. Ratwatte with his walking stick and his service chiefs walked eight miles to army FDL’s safely.

It was then that the image of tiger terrain impregnability was shattered first. Now with successful LRRP operations myth demolition continues.

[D.B.S. Jeyaraj can be reached at djeyaraj@federalidea.com]

Related: LRRP: D.B.S. Jeyaraj Responds to Brigadier V.U.B. Nanayakkara

Entry Filed under: transCurrents NewsFeatures

51 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dlevene  |  March 11th, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    LRRP – may you continue to strike swiftly and firmly at heart of the enemy!

  • 2. Suranga  |  March 11th, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks Mr jeyaraj, you are still my hero

  • 3. Eric Nirmalan  |  March 11th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    The article by DBS has a different twist. This highlights that Sri Lanka operates nothing more than ‘assassination squads’ or ‘hit squads’ suspected to have taken the life an elected TNA parliamenatrian. It also glorifies the terrorist LTTE as a regular and disciplined army with regular ranks of office.

    Balagalle and Ratwatte need not be given credit at this time. They have had their day and the people are quite aware of their abject failures, mismanagement and high politics. Why glorify them now ? If so-Sri Lankans would not have this protracted misery today.

  • 4. Roy  |  March 11th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    What happens is Sri Lanka Government and Army regularly killing civilians and elected officials, time will come for MR even Chandrika to face the war crimes charges

  • 5. Raj  |  March 11th, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Love the swipe at Ananda. Federalism sir! Indian-style cha! cha!
    The invincibility of the LTTE and the impregnability of the territory they control is a myth-but I’m not sure it was created by the Tigers themselves.
    For many Tamils who are watching the Singhalese terror state obliterate our people, the LTTE is all that stands in their way.

  • 6. M.thiru  |  March 11th, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    It is a timely article in the sense that it should make the Tamils as a group aware that how successful the enemy( Sinhala nation and its state terror ) in dividing the Tamils within themselves, and the Tamils and the Muslims so that politically Tamils as a collective group can not get parity of status within the unitary Sinahalnation. Further this state terror together with the other states is on a mission that Tamils elsewhere are also not powerful politically.

    In my view, Mahinda bro & co with their Mahinda Chinthana and with financial and military help from Japan, China, India , Pakistan,Iran, US is going ahead with the mission of making Tamils all over the world as pariahs. Tamils have not learnt the lesson from 60 years of experience that the Sinhalanation will not give any devolution to Tamils and the only way the tamils can survive is by forming a tamil nation within the island by being united among themselves and seeking the help of superpowers and the UN.

  • 7. Samarasinghe  |  March 11th, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    DBS Jeyaraj, your claims are very funny. Your analysis is a big joke. Please get your facts right before writing. For example, PLOTE mohan was killed in Vavuniya !

    DBSJ RESPONDS: Kandiah Yogarasa alias Mohan a.k.a. PLOTE Mohan was killed by the LTTE in Colombo and not Vavuniya. In the first place Mohan who hailed from the east did not operate in Vavuniya. PLOTE Mohan was shot dead on Duplication road opposite the House of Fashion at about 2. 15 pm on Saturday July 31st 2004.Let the readers decide about whose claims are funny and who the big joke(r) is!

  • 8. Estavez  |  March 12th, 2008 at 2:49 am

    SL Forces with all their might and fire power still inching away into LTTE territory speaks volumes of LTTE vigour and its war tactics.

    Killing Innocent Civlians is not an achievement in anyone’s language. It’s a shame that LRRP had to follow the tamil legislator from the inspection point and then plant the claymore to kill him.

  • 9. R.G  |  March 12th, 2008 at 2:50 am

    It’s not a great achievement by LRRP to let in the MP, Sivaneesan and then send in the LRRP to claymore him.

    LRRP has been successful only in killing school children and civilians to a best portion of 90% of their targets.

    LTTE is not defending its boundaries on a vigil but repsond to SLA incursions as and when it occurs. This is due to their numeric inferiority.

  • 10. Sinhalese  |  March 12th, 2008 at 5:49 am

    The very simple truth here- LTTE’s DPU units or LRRP units creating Havoc in Colombo and South killing Southern civilians. State is responding like wise. And State attacks are human righ violations , LTTE attacks are liberation attacks. Which ever the way civilians suffer. M thiru and others should understand at least by now instead of pushing Tamil nation and lies to West fight together with Sinhalese. That’s what pre Prabha leaders did. Kinds that you eliminated – Uma, Pathmanabha, Rajini etc. Tell you what I support DBS for president.

  • 11. Ratna  |  March 12th, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Then why Tiger operatives operating in South are called Terrorist, not LRRP / DPU?

    100 years later, the history books will say ‘ even in year 2000+, Tamils were defending their territory from Sinhalese occupiers.

  • 12. Deshamanya  |  March 12th, 2008 at 7:45 am

    how about : The LTTE also needs to send its LRRP into sinhalese areas and raise havoc against the civilians.. ?

  • 13. vishvajith  |  March 12th, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for the insight DBS. LRP units have turned the tide of war. What’s goose for the goose is good for the gander. The LTTE is getting it as good at it gives. For my Tamil brothers and sisters living in the madness of war and counter war, well we can only thank the LTTE for the ” enforced electoral boycot ” of the last pres election.
    Cheers.

  • 14. Ezhamaran T.  |  March 12th, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Who claimed the Tiger terrains were impregnable? DPU attacks are possible in Tiger controlled areas as well as in the government controlled areas. In additional we learnt in a great lesson that also air attacks are possible in both areas.

  • 15. samuel  |  March 12th, 2008 at 9:25 am

    LRRP infiltration and surprise attacks were perfected by the british when Montgomery fought Rommel in the north africa front during WW two,and is not a new concept.
    These are a counter to LTTE attacks in colombo & surburbs and in the south.
    Whether these attacks “demolish the ‘invincibility myth’ of the LTTE” remains to be seen.
    If wanni residents are “helping” the LRRP infiltraters, it must be under fear of rape, torture & death. Even now these are going on in addition to robbery by hooded gunmen in the “cleared areas” during “curfew” hours.
    All these are part of the Nazi tactics copied and perfected by the SL armed forces.
    The technique of having Hooded Informants identify LTTE supporters among people paraded before them was copied from the Israeli tactics against the PLO long ago – Israel is said to have trained both LTTE and SLArmy personnel !

  • 16. V. Singh  |  March 12th, 2008 at 9:29 am

    DBS I applaud your insightful analysis. It’s pains me to watch our brethern killing each other to oblivion and setting the country on a tragic path. It’s the twin evil’s of Sinhala and Tamil Nationalism which has led us on this path to destruction. Lets hope one day we have a leader who can represent and promote racial integration and engage in nation building. It won’t be MR and defintiely not Mr.Prabhakaran, whose war games have destroyed the very fabric of our society.

  • 17. WimalaDharmaSuriya  |  March 12th, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Bravo DPU / LRRP

  • 18. Shanthi  |  March 12th, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Expliot the LTTE to fight the LTTE:

    The divisive politics divided the Tamil nationalists. The ill-foundation was laid by Chetty (First Tiger Cheiftain) for Eelam struggle when he killed his counterpart, Kannadi Pathmanathan – the technical expert behind the Tamil New Tigers. Now and then killings went on within and without. When Oberoi Thevan got killed all knew, it was heading for a fratricidal warfare. The group militancy, factional militancy.. came finally the despotic militancy.

    LTTE killed many disenchanted men-in-arms in the field operations. Many of those escaped narrowly – we shared the moments when the hunter and the hunted met each other in European capitals.

    But the definite change was first started by NOT at the assassination attempt of Kittu in Jaffna but at the arrest of Mathaya and his lieutenants. (EPRLF was paid dearly in Kanthan Karunai in Nallur with 63 lives when Aruna went on the killing spree on the 30th Mar 1987). It was Mathaya’s war-hardened loyalists who knew the terrain well were drawn into the LRRP. Then followed by Karuna and others who were trained by LTTE, thought like LTTE, focused like LTTE and operated like LTTE.

    Unlike LTTE or other Tamil militants, the SL forces got their first to provide the security and a future for the Mathaya group and employed them in the best job, in what they were trained to do. They were even trained further…Has ever LTTE managed to use the dissention in the opposition to fight for Tamils. An ideal partner of LTTE was JVP and even at the height of the suppression of the JVP militants, LTTE went and joined hands with Premadasa and betrayed them too. Every possible ally we will ever have has been blotted out of the equation. Among tamils, Sinhalese and Indians.

    There is a lot that LTTE has to learn from way SL govt is investing on the dissention of the tamils. Can your political thinking accommodate a Sinhalese fighting along national struggle of Eelam? What about Muslims? (a diabolic mistake swept under the carpet without addressing the problem) Like JHU working with TMVP, can LTTE convincingly work with any other? Govt even have won elections in the east now!!

    It was only the govt forces who were fortunate enough to understand misfortune of the dissention and exploited to their advantage. May be LTTE has been more ruthless even to their brethren than the state forces themselves? Can the Tamils blame Tamil militants for their decision fend for themselves? What did we all do when they incarcerated in the prisons of Vanni? What did we do when they were longing for freedom? Whoever managed to escape they did not have love for LTTE or Tamils for whom there were willing to sacrifice their lives! This is what happens when the sacrificial dedication of trained militants turns sour.

    ‘Good Tamil is a dead Tamil’ according to late Minister Mathew, who engineered the anti-tamil pogrom on the Tamils in 1983. It was Cyril Mathew who lamented at the killing of Chetty Ex-Tiger leader referring as his Colleague at the parliament (hansard).
    I wonder for whom Rajapakshe will lament when Tamil leaders get killed. Anandasangaree, No, not at all.

  • 19. Winston Martin  |  March 12th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Mr. Jeyaraj, you are 100% correct in saying that Plote Mohan was killed in Colombo. I even remember seeing a photograph published in one of the Colombo media showing his body lying on the payment after he was shot dead. DBSJ, don’t worry about this stupid jokers. They always love to find fault with you and you writings all the time. To me you are the best and continue your good work.

  • 20. Gayan  |  March 12th, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    The immence contribution by LRRP to SLA & SL people is worth noting.As correctly pointed out by DBS these are unsung heros of modern warware which actually can be dated back to even american independence war and more prominantly to the WW2 .But those days these units were not specialised and every soldier was expected to handle the job when ordered.

    The classic and most famous of all DPU action was the “Battle of the Buldge” by German SS forces in WW2.

    Israel army use DPU units more than any other country i beleive ,though dacades of military successes and superior firepower have deminished DPU requirements to Isreal.

    But unlike Isreal who have strong political vision and support, the greates threat to SL LRRP is not from the LTTE but within.Specialy from political forces.

    The betrayal of the founding members of LRRP at the millenium safe house was a classic betrayal by a political force.Though everybody thinks it was a lone act by SSP Udugampola ,i beleive he was just a pone in a political compramise.As pointed out by DBS ,LTTE and VP wanted LRRP blood ,As a very good student of war VP knew the deadly potential the LRRP has and became personal for VP with the attack on “Col” Shanker his personal friend and there was a stage where none of the Tiger leadership was safe specialy VP himself as the LRRP reached even the heart of Killinochi in 1999-2001.

    But Ranil Wickramasinghe and some influential section of UNP betrayed the LRRP.(DBS mention the reason was money but i dont agree).THIS WAS THE PRICE OF THE 2002 “CEASEFIRE” which Ranil who was and always is willing to make “sacrifises” at the expence of the general mass if it can achive the ends colombo financial elite desires.

    However i dont agree with DBS assesment that LRRP can strike at killinochi now as they did in 1999-2001 and nor was they responsible for the assasination of Sivanesan.

    Unlike now in 1999-2001 the SLA FDLs ran upto Paranthan in North and Mankulam in south .(short distance from killinochi itself where most of the LTTE leaders were taken out as mentioned by DBS) That is very far away from present FDLs of Vauniya/mannar/Weli Oya in the south and Nagarkovil in the North.

    Secondly Sivanesan assasination has no military or political benefit to the Govt or SLA ,on the other hand LTTE is to gain from all fronts ,that too at the eve of the Gen assembly of the UN human rights council .This remind me of the “suicide” of legendary Gen Rommel in WW2 ,where Hitler orderd him to end his life and get a state funeral or face the firing squad. VP is a classic terrorist lets not foget that.

    The mannar school bus saga is either a mistake by LRRP (happening so close to the front)or a deliberate attack by LTTE.(LTTE followed that immediatly by bombing innocent civilians in south killing over 100 people including childen and elderly pilgrims,as well as using the sympathy card).If govt was to attack tamil civilians for “tit for tat” then there are many opotunities in the south places like wallewatte and need not pick a hard target in Mannar.And just war record politicians in the south have learnt their lessons from 1983.!!

    Good article.

  • 21. sanju  |  March 12th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    very interesting.

  • 22. Athos  |  March 12th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    /*
    For instance a schoolbus carrying schoolgirls was targeted in Mannar as revenge for the LTTE attacking a bus with schoolchildren in Moneragala.
    */

    Immediately after this incident, Nadesan appealed to UN to declare independence because of gross ‘Human Rights Violations’. An LTTE TV crew and Catholic priests were immediately present in the middle of a war zone after this bomb. You could see one of the kids were cut with a long blade. Don’t be surprised LTTE could do this.

  • 23. Samarasinghe  |  March 12th, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    DBS, when you say something, it is true. Apparently, you are more reliable than me. My memory is at a loss here, I understand, however, I am getting too old for this.

  • 24. Ram the 2nd  |  March 12th, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    An Excellent artcle.

    Only thing I have to say,
    DBS wrote,”Meeting terror by terror is part of this Government’s counter-terrorism strategy.”

    I would say, ” Government is meeting terror with terror.”

    So long LTTE.

  • 25. TD  |  March 12th, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    DBSJ, your facts are correct but I have some doubts on yr conclusions. SLDF or DPU/LRRP is not that much foolish or vulnarable to deliberately target school children and civilians for “tit for tat”. That era (’83) is gone and the problem in SL is not between sinhalese and tamils. It is between legitimate govt and armed terrorists. You sure know that majority od tamils are living outside the north and east. means mingled with sinhalese. Visit colmbo. See tamils live in free with their tamil identity.
    I also agree with Gayan that there is no achievement to Govt or SLDF by killing MP Sivanesan. Actually it has worse consequences like international pressure, possibility of sending a loyal LTTE cadre to parliament etc..

  • 26. Carlo Kovoor  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:10 am

    DBS Jeyaraj’s article on LRRP is subtle and well – crafted. It has many layers needing careful unravelling. It does not have a twist as Eric Nirmalan has suggested. I think the twist is in Eric’s mind.

  • 27. Guna. N. Gunaratnam  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Eric Nirmalan is wrong when he says DBSJ is glorifying people by writing about them. On that basis no one can write about anyone without Eric Nirmalan saying “Dont glorify”. Only must attack people so EN will not say glorify

  • 28. Mrinalini  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I really dont understand what comment # 4 is saying by talking of a twist. I think the article is a well – written straightforward narrative without any twists

  • 29. Thillai.T.Thillaiambalam  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:25 am

    If Samarasinghe checks with newspapers and websites dated july 31st . august 1st /august 2nd 2004 he can find out himself that PLOTE Mohan was killed in Colombo. Only a fool rushes in like Samarasinghe where angels fear to dread

  • 30. Vijithamallika Kuruppu  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Aiyo Samarasinghe

    everybody knows that Mohan from plote was killed in Duplication rd no? we were at fashion house when it happend three years ago.

    why are you challenging DBS like a fool?

  • 31. Guna.N.Gunaratnam  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Samarasinghe you are funny and your comment is a joke. I dont think you are Samarasinghe but some LTTE supporter against DBS

  • 32. Guna.N.Gunaratnam  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:37 am

    tiger supporter alias Samarasinghe you are a funny joke

  • 33. Bala  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:41 am

    I think DBS is right in saying Mannar bombing was tit for tat for Moneragala bombing and Sivanesan for Dassanayake. They also shot 16 Tamils and dumped body in Kebitigollawa for revenge for bus bombing there

  • 34. Vipul  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:44 am

    My guess is that Mannar bus bomb and Sivanesan killing was done by LRRP. But it was accident. Real target was LTTE vehicle

  • 35. tiny taraki  |  March 13th, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Mannar bus incident and Sivanesan killing was not by LTTE. If LTTE trys to do something like that and are exposed they lose support with Tamils. So they wont do

  • 36. Naga UK  |  March 13th, 2008 at 3:08 am

    All is well thata ends well! But is it the ground reality? A democratically (?) elected government using tactics or srtrategies hitherto exercised by terrorists was and is (at least in the articulated international norms) without regard to the lives and properties of innocent civilians caught between would be government terrorism, which is now known as counter-terrorism.

    Gradually, but steadily the was has now become a ‘WAR GAME’ forgetting all the implications for the future of the country. Only both sides are revelling one over the other making various atrocious claims to fool both sides of the fence on a daily basis totally forgetting the irrepirable damage they are causing to the country and not stopping to think the sort place that would be allocated to them in history of Sri Lanka.Only those who can read between the lines would realize the folly.

    Obviously they have gone past the stage of making amends and they are now bent on making hay while the sun shines having firmly put their snouts into the troughs.

  • 37. ernest macintyre  |  March 13th, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Impregnable terrain myth ?
    Then how is the Sri Lankan Army in Jaffna which was once under LTTE control ?

    Then how is Yala and Galle harbour attacakable by the LTTE ?
    Then think of some Sinhalese , for their assistance to the Tigers, being branded Sinhala Tigers
    And have we forgotten Katunayake , and the Pettah bus stand and the Central Bank?

    What is all this nonsensical abandon with words in English ?

  • 38. Dingiri  |  March 13th, 2008 at 9:58 am

    The cynical world of Terrorism and Counterterrorism use the same means for opposite purposes.

    Read here the CIA antics in Vietnam called the Phoenix Program.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/valentine.html

  • 39. KTR  |  March 13th, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    One of my fevorite authur in the history was Sandilyan from Tamil Nadu. I read almost all of his history books without taking a good break, while I was eating. He wrote with passion and made the hostory look like real based on a simple fact.
    He once told he write stories based on true facts and add charactors to each story to spice up the book.

    Again, for one writer the cup may be half empty and for the other it may be half full, depend on which way they look at it and which side they stay.

  • 40. Ruwani Perera  |  March 14th, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Nothing is OVER until the FAT Lady sings!

    These we’ve seen all too often in the past 25 years.

    LTTE losing and fighting tooth and nail to capture more land.
    If LTTE dies today without a proper addressing of the ethnic conflict by the southern polity, it is a loss to all Sri Lankans as chauvunistic hawks would take the upper hand and further suppress Minority rights.

    The need of the hour is prudence. None of the Sinhala leaders have this right now!!

  • 41. strima  |  March 14th, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Well Done LRRU

    God & Allah Bless You.

    May Triple Gem Bless You

    You’ll are saviours of our other land

    Please kill more LTTE leaders so we could Toast & celebrate!!!!

    Drinks from my accout mate

  • 42. Subra S.Massey  |  March 14th, 2008 at 5:17 am

    Any one interested in peace and prosperity?

  • 43. Lakshmi  |  March 14th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Shanthi (#18) and Gayan (#20) give better analysis of history and current situation. They should continue to write and coment. Thanks.

  • 44. Sundaram  |  March 14th, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    #18 Shanthi, Thank you for your interesting info.

    Thank you to DBS for a good article with facts.

  • 45. lanka1  |  March 15th, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Are you claiming that British SAS, US Delta Force and Navy Seals and all other covert operations units are assassination squads? These are covert teams belonging to professional armies.

  • 46. Mahinda Pirabaharan  |  March 15th, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Concur with Lakshmi (#43) with a correction of not better but apparently deeper analysis of some aspects. Yet with ref to #37 EM. Is he so dumb as not to know that it’s the V/Wani jungle terrain that’s mainly referred to as the impregnable terrain? Does EM think in his sarcastic conceit and arrogance that only he has the sole proprietary over the English language merely by having written few dumb plays mainly for SL elites?

  • 47. Shanthi  |  March 15th, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Tit for Tat

    Yes, Belive it or not, it is true. People are only pawns on this game – sorry to say.

    e.g. During the time of Lalith Athulathmudali who was targeting VP, round up people and locked them inside V V T Library and bombed them all. VPs face changed. He swore that he would avenge the death of his innocent relatives. Then executed the first Anuradhapura attack on civilians on 14th May 1985. All wondered why Tamils have NOT condemned it. On the very next Navy sorted the scores by killing 38 on Kumudhini boat by the island of Delft.

    Then came machete attacks. They were every quite but much gruesome than Anuradhapura. It started with beheading aggressive militant colonists, then children & mothers, border villages and finally soft targets. Simply appalling!

    This is NOT war. Revenge is the only motive. But it worked as deterrence or at least in the mind of military men – so it was adopted as a method by both side of the divide. Muslims were not an exception – their hands are also stained with innocent blood.

    I am only putting across true fact, not for news value. It hurts. Please put an end to this cycle of violence and save the innocent civilians and children dragged in. I appeal to Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese not to encourage civilian massacres which all should condemn outright without justifying the claims of tit-for-tat.

    Bombs and bullets cannot discriminate the victims. But your brains can!!

  • 48. mohan  |  March 18th, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    its been proof that the tiger boss Vellupilai Pirapa is a utter failer. what a shame he should sucide for the damage war he started. and tell us how much they (singalese mahina government) paid ltte to boykot lections . how can ltte face people again? Pirapa dont you feel shame yourself? do you call yourself a freedom fighter ? you are but nothing pirapa

  • 49. mohan  |  March 19th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    thank you for posting my comments Mr. DBS , our people could not face the truth about ltte leader? well I was long time beleiving your writing. but you have proved that you are a long-standing Journalist .

  • 50. ken  |  March 19th, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    DBS, you are a really great journalist. brilliant. You are courageous, honest & impartial in your writings. .

    Above all you are decent. You need some decency too, to be a respected journalist.

  • 51. Devinda Fernando  |  March 25th, 2008 at 1:11 am

    Call them ‘Heros’, call them ‘Assassins’, fact remains that they get the Job done. When it comes to fighting the Tigers I don’t see a problem with Targeted Killings of Tiger Leaders and their cohorts. I think this method is far more effective than dropping a bomb or firing a missile at a LTTE leader from above…certainly in terms of collateral damage and injuries to civilians. Since the LTTE will not meet the Sri Lankan Army on the Battle Field then the LRRP/DPUs should be commended by the UN and all those Human Rights Critics for their ability to minimize Civilian casualties during War.

    And Sivanesan’s killing may be the work of a LRRP/DPU but I seriously doubt it. The timing of the hit is highly suspect. A Political Nobody like Sivanesan could have been eliminated anywhere and anytime in Sri Lanka, He rode in a Basic Van with an unarmed Driver and no Bodyguards,…. EPDP or TMVP could have taken him out in Colombo if needed, makes no sense for the SL Govt to Target this man in the Heart of Tiger country… Obviously the LTTE would blame the Govt …and they did. coincidentally Sivanesan’s death occurred right when Prabharkaran comes out of Hiding to dispel the rumors of his Death or Amputated leg, and the UN Human Rights meeting in Switzerland is also taking place…. looks like those Swiss Tamil Protesters were given some Red Meat to whip themselves into a Frenzy just at the right time!

    The LTTE love killing their own people if it will grant them the Victim Status in the Eyes of the Western World. I would Not be surprised if Sivanesan was the Sacrificial Tamil Lamb the LTTE Needed to motivate their diminishing followers abroad. Not that I care if it was actually done by the LRRP/DPU, any dead TNA Politician is a Good one… Kill them All I say, they ARE the LTTE, why differentiate between those that infiltrate our society under plain clothes and Bark Rhetoric and Lies to our people in Parliament and those who wear a uniform and carry a gun. They were never Elected, they speak the LTTE’s agenda Word for Word.

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