Crackdown in Vavuniya
Intelligence agencies tip off local police:
For some time, Police had kept a close tab on a few individuals
residing in Colombo who used to make frequent visits to Vauniya on
business matters. Naturally the police and intelligence agencies became
suspicious of their frequent visits and were eager to know what dealings
they had in Vauniya.
After mounting a round the clock surveillance the police intelligence
agencies were able to gather a wealth of information on these
individuals and their shady dealings with suspicious characters.
Meanwhile the intelligence agencies tipped off the local police on
the activities of the men involved in ferrying goods to Vauniya. They
also briefed them that the men had close links with suspected LTTE
cadres in Vavuniya.
Working together with intelligence agencies the police launched a
surveillance campaign to monitor the clandestine activities of these
men. There were two men from Vauniya who had settled down in Colombo for
However their dealings fell under microscopic investigation when it
became apparent of their hideous dealings to supply prohibited goods to
the northern terrorist. The goods included liquid chemicals for making
explosives and other sophisticated equipment like digital compasses
needed in a battle field.
The clandestine dealing came to light when an informant tipped off
the intelligence service about the scale of goods that were ferried to
the LTTE controlled areas. It was done with the connivance of some
corrupt police and security personnel over the years. Some times these
men posed off as legitimate businessmen ferrying essential goods to the
They had done this to hoodwink the police and security personnel
manning road barriers along the Colombo-Vauniya road. But surprisingly
nobody had been caught red handed in recent times attempting to smuggle
military hardware to LTTE controlled areas.
While intelligence officers kept a constant surveillance on suspected
persons in Colombo they were tipped off last Sunday on the movement of a
lorry plying along Colombo Vavuniya road transporting hazardous
chemicals to Vauniya. The message was promptly relayed to senior police
officers in the north to be on the lookout for a lorry.
They in turn passed it on to the lower ranks manning the checkpoint
on route to Vauniya.
In the meantime the lorry with 90 plastic jars containing 3600 litres
of a liquid chemical suspected to be Sulphuric acid left Colombo last
Sunday to Vauniya. After arriving at Medawachchiya late in the evening
the chemical consignment was transferred to a Tipper lorry bearing the
number plate 48-6617 at a lonely house close to the Medawachchiya police
The driver along with another man had travelled in the lorry from
Colombo. There was a third man who had come in a motor cycle to escort
the Tipper lorry at Medawachchiya.
They all met at a lonely house at Medawachchiya, just a few meters
away from the police checkpoint. It was at this location where the
consignment of 90 plastic jars containing liquid chemicals were
transferred into a Tipper lorry.
In fact the motor cyclist was to escort the Tipper lorry on a
different road to avoid the police checkpoint at Madawachchiya. Around
10. p.m. the Tipper lorry left the house escorted by the pilot motor
cyclist and was proceeding along a by- road when a police party from
Medawachchiya intercepted the vehicle.
Police found 90 plastic jars each containing 40 litres of a chemical
similar to Sulphuric acid neatly arranged in the Tipper lorry. The
police took in for questioning two men travelling in the lorry, L.
Jayaprakash and M. Ponnarasa along with the motor cyclist all residents
of the Vauniya area.
The motor cycle bearing the number NPP TC- 4954 was also taken charge
by the police. The plausible explanation given by the suspects was that
the liquid chemical was to be used in the manufacture of rubber at
Vauniya. Police are investigating why the men had avoided the police
checkpoint at Medawachchiya.
They are also probing whether the motor cyclist was a LTTE cadre who
knew the shortest route to Wanni and whether he was knowledgable to by
pass security checkpoints en route to Wanni.
DIG Anuradhapura, Kingsley Ekanayake who spoke to the Sunday Observer
regarding the detection said the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
had taken over the investigation owing to the serious nature of the
Meanwhile police have sought the advice of the Government Analyst to
positively identify the chemical. Police are now trying to locate the
company from where the suspects had purchased the liquid chemical. It is
still not clear for what purpose the liquid chemical was to be used and
why it was transferred to Vauniya.
Meanwhile in a separate incident last week the Chilaw Police was
tipped off that a man travelling in a bus bound to Puttalam was carrying
with him some sophisticated equipment in a bag.
At the Chettikulan-Parayanam Kulam checkpoint, the police searched
the passenger and found in his possession 32 digital satellite
receivers. and 5 TV antennas. The suspect had told the police that he
was to deliver this equipment to a contact in Mannar. The suspect along
with the equipment was taken into custody by the Chilaw police.n