Yala detachment security lapse
Not a feather in Tiger cap
Monday's unexpected LTTE attack on the Army detachment in
Thalgasmankada in the Yala National Park sparked many concerns among the
public and also among media circles. It provided the much needed latest
tonic to make adverse comments on the security lapses in the South.
In reality killing of six soldiers initially in the LTTE attack on
the Army detachment and another where a soldier was caught in a landmine
explosion, possibly set by the Tiger cadres infiltrated into the
National Park, and on the following day gives the impression that the
Southern tip of the country, once again has been exposed to terror
attacks. Of course there has been a security lapse on the part of the
soldiers manning the detachment and also on the part of the officers in
charge of the area. They were not prepared for such a lightning attack
by the LTTE at this time.
On the part of the soldiers at the detachment, there was no need to
be on constant alert as they were not guarding a detachment in the
Forward Defence Lines in the Wanni or in Jaffna which are subjected to
constant LTTE infiltrations.
They might have been in their usual relaxing mood once detachment
came under sudden attack around 6 p.m. That was why the infiltrated
Tiger cadres were able to kill six out of the seven soldiers there and
injure the other.
Therefore, surely there had been a security lapse as they were not on
alert when the detachment came under attack.
Apart from that they have not set the mechanisms in motion to get the
information about such infiltration by the LTTE.
But can this isolated incident be taken to rule that southern
security is at a risk? In reality that was not the case.
The most justifiable argument relating to this is that the LTTE has
been able to locate the least alerted Army detachment to launch their
They have even failed to locate such a place in the Wanni, Jaffna or
in the East. If they had made any such attempts in the Wanni, Jaffna or
in the East there wouldn't have been any escape for them.
That was why they have selected this soft target, an isolated Army
detachment in the middle of the Yala National Park, as they can easily
flee from the area before reinforcements could reach the area.
If they had large numbers and were capable of launching an effective
attack they could have selected a vital security installation in Wanni,
Jaffna or in the East. The long search operations conducted by elite
Commandos and the troops of the Sinha Regiment who were flown to the
National Park so far, had not found any clue about the presence of the
Tiger cadres any where inside the park.
But they have received intelligence reports about possible Tiger
cadre movement inside the park prior to the attack, especially in the
Block II area between Menik Ganga and Kumbukkan Oya on the border of the
Ampara district which provides safe haven for the LTTE to operate.
However, the latest intelligence reports indicated that the Tiger
cadres have fled the area in small boats. Troops on duty in general
area, Udapathana, about 10 km north of Yala had observed, two suspected
LTTE boats sailing on Friday evening. The two boats, after they were
identified as LTTE seacraft, were fired upon by troops to prevent any
However, the terrorists aboard the two boats fled towards deep sea
firing at the troops. The Navy reportedly have carried out a search
operation in the sea off Panama in search of suspected boat movements in
Therefore the incident cannot be described as major security lapse in
the South as it made no big impact on the people in the South due to
this attack. This is not a major military debacle or any setback on the
part of the Security Forces as they lost no ground to the LTTE.
The effect of this attack is similar to that of a small claymore
attack by the LTTE targeting a military vehicle since they have not
gained any control over a territory in the South following this attack.
Whatever the criticism that rocked the south on Monday will be eye
opener for the Security Forces and the public in the south as there is
tendency to carry out such attacks targeting soft targets like
Thalgasmankada Army detachment to show off their strength.
Therefore, precautionary steps have to be taken to stop such LTTE
infiltrations to the area as it would provide safe passage for the Tiger
cadres roaming in the jungles in the Eastern province following their
humiliating defeat in the Eastern theatre, to move into the Southern
part of the country to carry out their terror operations.
That type of security alert is necessary not only for the south but
also to other parts of the country, especially to Colombo at this
decisive juncture of the war. It has been revealed that the jungle patch
between Kumbukkan Oya and Menik Ganga, the block II of the Yala National
Park which is not open to the public, provides safer havens for the LTTE.
Therefore, Defence authorities are now contemplating on the idea of
tightening the security at the Yala National Park shifting some Army
training facilities to this part of the National Park. Such a move will
automatically create a shield between the Eastern province and the South
preventing Tiger infiltration without shifting battalions from the Wanni
or in Jaffna as anticipated by the LTTE through this attack.
If Defence authorities have to deploy troops to guard Yala National
Park which stretches with a land mass of over 979 square kilometres they
will have to deploy almost a brigade to fulfil this task.
Shifting of training facilities to such areas is the ideal solution
to face such situations. Even for the Thoppigala jungle, that is the
most viable solution to prevent the LTTE to establish their jungle bases
again in the East.The late Lalith Athulath mudali made such arrangement
by establishing Maduru Oya Army Training School to prevent Tiger
infiltration from the East to the adjoining Polonnaruwa district, and
carry out massacres targeting Sinhala settlements.
If this type of attacks continue the Security Forces will have to
focus their attention towards the South instead of their attempts to
advance into Wanni to liberate the people entrapped in the area.
As this column highlighted last week the LTTE is making every
possible attempt to stop the Security Forces from advancing into the
Wanni stronghold, internationally and locally, both in political and
military means. The Yala attack can be seen as militaristic approach
towards their attempt as they had exhausted in their efforts of
defending the FDLs in the Wanni and in Jaffna. The severe beatings they
from the Security Forces in the Wanni FDLs have become unbearable for
them with many of their cadres getting killed in the skirmishes.
Security Forces, in their pre-emptive operations killed nearly 100
Tiger cadres in the FDLS West of Omanthai this week alone. The most
devastating battles erupted in Periyathampanai and Thampanai areas.
Troops used diversionary tactics to launch a major assault on the
LTTE cadres who constantly launching attacks on the Security Force
taking the cover of the Tank bund in Periyathamnai. This has brought
results with Security Forces killing at least 14 Tiger cadres taking the
cover of this Tank bund.
Troops also recovered seven bodies of LTTE cadres, along with five
T-56 rifles and a multi purpose machine gun. Six soldiers also suffered
injuries in the incident that erupted on Thursday morning.
With these developments the Security Forces are now taking the upper
hand in their bid to liberate Wanni from the Tiger grip as they had done
in their mission in the East. Therefore, the LTTE may resort to more
violent acts in the coming weeks especially in Colombo in their
desperate bid to stop military advances into their territory.
Meanwhile, the International Conference on Countering Terrorism which
commenced and concluded yesterday also exposed the true nature of the
LTTE by various international experts in the anti terrorism campaign.
Dr. Gerard Chailand, the former Director,of the European Centre for
the Study of Conflicts who was the guest speaker at the inauguration of
the conference very categorically stated no peace seems possible with
Velupillai Prabhakaran as have seen from the peace process of 2002 to
2005 which was but a tactical truce.
"The Independence they (the LTTE) ask for cannot be granted, not only
because no State is willing to accept such a blow to its sovereignty but
also because, like the Shining Path or the Khmers Rouges, LTTE, under
the leadership of V. Prabhakaran is a totalitarian movement which has
transformed its groups into a killing machine", Dr. Gerard Chailand
mentioned in his presentation.
"LTTE has brutally eliminated all other parties groups willing to
represent the Tamil. It has assassinated all those who were willing to
offer an alternative to LTTE's position. Just like V. Prabhakaran has
physically eliminated in his own party those who could challenge his
authority", he said.
However, he said no military solution can solve the Tamil problem
alone. In other words the Dr. Chailand endorsed the stance taken by the
Rajapaksa administration on the subject of LTTE terrorism which treats
the LTTE terrorism and the Tamil problem separately.
Judge Jean Louis Bruguiere, Chairman of the French Anti-Terrorist
Judges, in his presentation on International Response to Terrorism
stated that the French Government considers an organisation like the
LTTE is a terrorist organisation like any other and that its activities
even in the area of logistics, have to be repressed with the same vigour
as for terrorist networks operating in France.
Bruguiere who traced the manner in which international efforts at
responding to terrorism has evolved over the years, said if the fight
against terrorism is an inescapable requirement, "we owe it to ourselves
to reinforce our international cooperation at every level, notably by
adopting multilateral or bilateral conventions in the field of judicial
cooperation as well as extradition." Addressing the panel on regional
responses to terrorism, former Commander of the Indian Army, Gen. V. P.
Malik also raised a valid point emphasizing the need to combat and
defeat terrorism in all its manifestations. "Terrorist activities
anywhere will stop only when their fuel runs out." Gen. Malik said in
his presentation. Therefore it is high time any Sri Lankan Government
get to defeat the LTTE terrorism and to solve the Tamil question by
means of political negotiations.
Shanaka Jayasekera, Research Assistant, Centre for Policing,
Intelligence and Counter Terrorism in Australia also made major
revelations about the deep rooted LTTE fund raising campaign by the LTTE
using the Tamil Diaspora spread all over the world.
According to him the LTTE has developed the most sophisticated
infrastructure for fundraising and money transfer operation in
comparison to any other terrorist group.
"The intent of the LTTE is to progress towards systems that have been
stable income generation capability, giving the LTTE the advantage of
stability in projected incomes and procurement planning.
Revealing the fourth generation fund raising methods, Jayasekera
stated that all Tamil families in Europe are being systematically
registered and assigned a unique PIN number. According to him phase one
European initiative commenced in Switzerland in early 2006, each family
has been issued with a three page with a banner heading LTTE in
Switzerland. The form has 30 questions relating to personnel information
including details of blood relatives in Sri Lanka, income status,
subscription to LTTE satellite television and contribution to homeland
"The LTTE intends to issue each Tamil family in Europe with a unique
PIN number refers to as the Tamil Eelam identity number. It is suspect
that the main database for this project is located in Scandinavian
country with a capability to transfer data to Kilinochchi", Jayasekera
revealed in his presentation under the title Terrorist Fundraising and
Money Transfer Operations. At last the entire world is now realizing the
harsh truth behind the LTTE in all world fora against terrorism.
Therefore, as Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama stated in
his address to the inaugural sessions of the conference," One must be
conscious that in taking action against the LTTE foreign governments are
not merely helping Sri Lanka, but they are also acting in their
self-interest, for it is well-known that the LTTE's global terror
network which has links to other terrorist organizations such as United
Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), the Afghan Mujahideen, the Kurdish
Workers Party (PKK), the Maoists, Abu Sayaf, Moro National Liberation
Front (MNLF) and to the Al-Qaeda, has the ability to contribute to
copy-cat terrorism through its suicide bomb technology, acts of maritime
terrorism, and nascent air strike capability".