Three top Tigers killed in clash with army

First confrontation since May 19, 2009
Air Tiger among the dead

by Shamindra Ferdinando

The largest man hunt launched in the Northern Province since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 ended in the early hours of yesterday with three persons, Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Thevihan and Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gopi, being killed.

The military said that the remaining body was believed to be of Navaratnam Navaneethan alias Appan. There was no official confirmation at the time this edition went to press.

The Defence Ministry confirmed the death of three LTTE cadres and the recovery of their bodies following a confrontation at Vedivachchikallu, south of Nedunkerni.

Thevihan had been involved in the LTTE air attacks on the Anuradhapura air base in October 2007 and the Kolonnawa Petroleum Storage facility also in the same year. Yesterday’s confrontation was the first between the army and the LTTE since the LTTE’s military muscle collapsed on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on May 19, 2009.

The previous day, troops recovered four back-packs containing rations, medicine and clothes.

The government launched a major hunt for LTTE cadres in the wake of Gopi shooting at a police officer on Match 13 at Dharmapuram, a one-time LTTE stronghold east of Kandy-Jaffna A9 road.

Troops recovered one 9 mm weapon, four hand grenades, several documents as well as some dry rations, along with the bodies.

A senior military official told The Island that a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) activist, Mrs Balendran Jayakumari, had harboured Gopi at her Dharmapuram residence though she knew of his involvement in terrorism. When the police arrested Jayakumari and took her 13-year-old daughter, Vipooshika into protective custody, the TNA raised the matter at the 25th session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The LTTE activists in London launched a protest campaign outside the British Premier’s office, demanding the British intervention to secure their release

Addressing the UNHRC, under General Debate on Agenda Item 2 on the Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary General, Northern Provincial Councillor, Ananthi Sasitharan alleged that Vipooshika had been arrested for participating in protests demanding the release of her detained brother. Sasitharan said that Vipooshika’s arrest was a threat to every child protesting injustice caused to Tamil speaking people.

Police headquarters said that following investigations into ongoing attempts to revive the LTTE, authorities detained 60 persons, including 10 women in connection with their alleged involvement in the new terrorism project.

Authoritative sources said that as both Gopi and Thevian had lived abroad, investigators were in the process of checking their relationship with Diaspora activists. Intelligence services believe that Appan had been staying at Jayakumari’s home for some time and was involved in clandestine operations. Sources said that they had been funded by the Europe-based LTTE‚Äągroups.

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