Members of a religious
order caught in a Tiger ring
by Shamindra Ferdinando
Last week's arrest of an LTTE operative at
Mabole, Wattala tasked with supplying suicide jackets,
explosives and small arms and ammunition to undercover LTTE
operatives in the city and its suburbs has revealed a hitherto
unknown link between the group and a religious order.
According to investigators, a few members of
the order, some of them priests, had helped the LTTE to smuggle
in armaments over a long period of time. The LTTE intelligence
has increasingly used them after the army dislodged the Tigers
from all their bases in the East by the middle of last year.
The military said that the LTTE may have
shifted some operations to government -held areas in the
Vavuniya and Mannar districts to facilitate movement of
explosives to Colombo.
The government last week prohibited all private
and public vehicles from moving southwards beyond the
Irretteperiyakulam road block situated just south of Vavuniya.
It also directed that both public and private vehicles from
Mannar wouldn't be allowed beyond Medawachchiya until further
notice. Night mail train services from Colombo, too would be
terminated at Medawachchiya.
The military said that the government had been
forced to take some hard decisions to prevent the LTTE from
smuggling explosives to the city.
The recent arrest of a priest of the religious
order under investigation at a road block in the Puttalam
district has revealed involvement in terrorist activity, the
The suspect, a resident of the Mannar district,
had led the investigators to his church situated at Thalpadu,
Mannar where three suicide jackets, two claymore mines, each
packed with five kgs of high explosives , six magnet bombs and
three kgs of C4 plastic explosives were found.
According to investigators, the suspect had
handed over 11 suicide jackets to a Batticaloa district based
priest of the same order and seven suicide jackets to another
priest at Nuwara Eliya. From there, he had travelled to
Bandarawela before coming to Mabole where he dropped the LTTE
operative shortly before two members of the
Civil Defence Force arrested him.
The CDF personnel deployed along the Colombo-Negombo
road following the assassination of Nation Building Minister
D.M.Dassanayake early last month had acted swiftly after a woman
brought the manís suspicious behaviour to their notice.
Authoritative sources said that the recent
arrests had helped them to identify a major LTTE network that
facilitated the transfer of explsoives needed to carry out
attacks in the south.
The priest identified as Nagulan had been
arrested as he was on his way to Mannar after handing over
suicide jackets to his contacts in Batticaloa (Kallar), Nuwara
Eliya and dropping the operative who had been tasked to hand
over two suicide jackets to a person identified as Suresh.
Police and military officials said that they
would go all out to crackdown on LTTE intelligence operatives.
An official said that the LTTE, struggling to
resist ground assaults on the Jaffna and Vanni fronts would
strike indiscriminately. That would be critical to their counter
strategy to thwart government efforts to register an impressive
battlefield victory ahead of Sinhala New Year.