LTTE bid to move explosives in ICRC vehicle thwarted

Security forces yesterday thwarted an LTTE attempt to use the grand daughter of an 84-year-old woman, seeking treatment at the Vavuniya General Hospital, to smuggle plastic explosives into the government-held area in a vehicle belonging to the ICRC.

The army said that troops had checked Ms Ketheswaran’s unusually heavy bag and found about 3.5 kilos of C-4 explosives. The deadly cargo had been kept neatly packed and meticulously stitched inside.

The army identified the suspect as Ranjidamaller Ketheswaran, a resident of Gnanimadam, Pooneryn. Military officials said that the 32-year-old woman and her grandmother R. Sellamma Sundarajan had reached the Omanthai entry/exit point accompanied by ICRC representatives.

The army said although the suspect claimed that an LTTE operative had tricked her into carrying the bag and hand it over to a person in Vavuniya she would have to be questioned. She couldn’t have been unaware of LTTE attempts to smuggle in explosives and other weapons through the entry/exit point, the army said.

The elderly woman had been admitted to the Vavuniya General Hospital while her granddaughter was held for questioning.

The army said that it expected the ICRC to take up this issue with the LTTE. A senior official said that the LTTE had jeopardised an arrangement worked out for the benefit of civilians by attempting to smuggle in explosives. Nothing could be as serious as exploiting this arrangement, he said.

The ICRC remains the only INGO active in the LTTE-held Vanni area after all other INGOs re-located their offices and personnel in Vavuniya last September following a government directive.

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