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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 108

Northern LTTE puts command changes to the east on hold

Colombo, 05 July, ( The Vanni high command of the Tamil Tigers in the north has put on hold the changes in their command and control structure of Batticalao - Amparai district—the central area vital for the defence of the eastern flank. Colonel Bahnu is considered a failure by the Vanni Leadership.Colonel Bahnu is considered a failure by the Vanni Leadership.

In the month of June, LTTE leadership seriously decided to change the command structure of Batticaloa – Amparai district after the Karuna Group cornered and killed Commander Ramanan of the Tigers.

The break-away Karuna Group is battling to gain total command of the east by eliminating or driving away the Tamil Tigers from the east. The direct hit on Commander Ramanan was severe blow to the Tiger prestige in the east. Following this a confidential report revealed that the Vanni high command had decided to remove the special commanders of the East of Sri Lanka, Colonel Bravo Bahnu of the Batticaloa – Amparai districts and Colonel Sornam presently of Trincomalee district, from their current posts. The Vanni command considers that both have been failures.

Colonel Bahnu who is in command now is to be replaced by Colonel Jeyam who was one of the delegates to Geneva.

Furthermore it was already decided to post Colonel Ramesh as commanding officer in charge of Vaharai region, consisting of the villages of Vaharai, Paalchenai, Verugal and Kathiraveli.

The Vanni command was concerned about the violence rising against the LTTE and targeting their cadres. Key political pro-LTTE figures like Joseph Parajasingham, an MP in Batticoloa and T. Vigneswaram, a prospective MP in Trincomalee were gunned down by suspected cadres of the other Tamil groups. Vanni command was also alarmed by the deteriorating combat capabilities to challenge and destroy the fast emerging Karuna’s group, Tamil-Eela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal.Colonel Ramesh to be appointed in charge of Vaharai division.Colonel Ramesh to be appointed in charge of Vaharai division.(TMVP).

The success of the TMVP has challenged the authority of the LTTE in the East. TMVP has, within a short space of time, established a political office in the heart of Batticoloa town which in now visited by numerous international organizations to maintain direct contacts with them. The latest round of talks was held with the UNICEF in which both parties agree to consult each other before issuing public statements. Tiger leadership campaigned heavily to blacken the Karuna group as a para-military group working hand in glove with the Sri Lanka army’s intelligence wing.

Tamil-Eela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal is gaining popularity because of its two-pronged approach: 1) its military wing targeting the Tamil Tigers and 2) its political wing advancing to win the hearts and the minds of Tamil-speaking population in the east. TMVP has an edge over the Tamil Tigers as its final goal is to enter the democratic mainstream without claiming to be the sole representative of the people and eliminating other political rivals. .

As political and military pressure mounted it was decided that a senior commander had to be sent to Batti-Amaparai district. Reports reveal that it has been decided to remove Bhanu from the east and locate him in the Vanni. Bhanu will be replaced by Colonel Jayam although he has been branded as Karuna loyalists.

Colonel Jayam is one of the senior commanders and was one of the member of the LTTE's delegation to the first round of talks in Geneva and later in Oslo. He is to be assigned as special commander of the Batticalao – Amparai districts. TMVP Leadership Supreme Commander Pillayan, Senior Commander Jeyam, Military Commander Markan, Commander Sinnathamby, and othersTMVP Leadership Supreme Commander Pillayan, Senior Commander Jeyam, Military Commander Markan, Commander Sinnathamby, and others

Although Jayam has been branded as Karuna loyalists, LTTE leadership is confident that once he is posted to Batti-Amparai as special Commander his loyalty would not waver. He was suspected as being a loyalist of Mahattaya, alias Mahendrarajah and former deputy leader of LTTE. Mahathaya was arrested and subsequently killed by the LTTE. Jayam was also given the third degree treatment by the LTTE. He was arrested, tortured and even deprived of his membership in the LTTE.

It is also reported that Colonel Karuna has openly said that he wants to have Colonel Bahnu either arrested and tried publicly in the East for crimes against humanity, or killed. Col Bhanu was responsible, along with S. Ilamparuthi alias ‘Anjaneyar’ the present head of the political division of Jaffna, for driving out 100,000 Muslims in the latter part of 1990.

According to reports, Karuna’s men nearly got Bahnu on 10 October 2005 in an incident in Vavunathievu, nearly 05 kilometers away from Batticoloa. But he managed to escape and survive, according to reports. This attempt confirms that Karuna is serious about targeting Bahnu. The LTTE has decided to move him out of Batticalao to avoid any chance of being arrested alive and the humiliation that may follow of such arrest.

Earlier reports revealed that Colonel Bahnu who was stripped of his uniform and demoted was reinstated and sent to Batticoloa-Amparai district as a special Commander with 100 special bodyguards, to replace Colonel Ramesh in the first week of October 2004. Now Vanni command considers that Col. Bahnu too has failed to check the challenge posed by Col. Karuna’s men in the region.

Earlier the Vanni leadership was planning to re-install Col. Ramesh as the special commder of the LTTE in the Amparai - Batticalao districts.

According to reliable information, it was pointed out by S.P.Tamilselvan to his group within the LTTE that Col. Ramesh was once a failure. They were also suspicious of him because he is from Batticoloa and whenever there is a regional conflict of interest between Jaffna and “Batti” Ramesh would tend to take the side of the East .

- Asian Tribune -

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