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War on terror:

The grand finale

The megalomaniac Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who put this country in peril for the past three decades, at last had to meet his death in a most shameful manner when he was hiding inside the thickets of a small islet in the Eastern edge of the Nanthikadal lagoon.

Ultimately he put the entire Tamil Diaspora, who worshipped this illusive leader as their God father, in shame as he died like a fox hiding inside thickets after tasting the blood of innocent rabbits, indeed inside a bush fearing his death at the hands of the brave soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army.

This blood thirsty megalomaniac leader indeed wanted to see the death of the last Tamil living around him before meeting with his cowardly death as he did not have an iota of regard for the lives of the innocent Tamil civilians as he made no attempt to safeguard their lives at least by surrendering to the Government.

Silencing guns, celebrating the final victory in Mullaitivu Pictures by Rukmal Gamage

He wanted the last cadre to die but did not even bite a cyanide capsule as he preached to his followers. There was no sign of a cyanide capsule around his neck at the time he faced this shameful death sacrificing the young blood of the Tamils for his survival. Therefore, this so-called ruthless terror leader who misled the entire world saying that he was fighting for the cause of the Tamils ultimately proved that he was such a selfish, timid leader who could not take any brave decision to safeguard his community even at the last minute and the ‘struggle’ he continued for decades was only for his survival but not for the benefit of the Tamil community.

Ultimately, he had to accept that he was not a leader who can fight with the Sri Lankan Army though he believed in the fact that the international community would ensure his survival even at the last moment by keeping only his head out of water of the Nanthikadal lagoon for hours.

Nanthikadal lagoon

But he could not survive as troops led by Commando troops and the Infantry troops of the 4 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment ultimately killed him inside a small islet in the Eastern bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon and found his bleeding body around 10.30 a.m on Tuesday.

He had to face this tragic death as all his plans to flee from this so-called No Fire Zone were foiled by the Army troops who surrounded the last few square kilometres in the No Fire Zone by Sunday as tens of thousands civilians fled towards the military controlled areas. Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had created groundwork for his escape by engaging in a psychological operation to convince the Security Forces that he was no longer inside the Safe Zone as number of Tiger cadres who had declared themselves as Tiger cadres have told the Security Forces that Tiger leader had escaped the country in a submarine before the beach front was sealed off by the 58 Division and the 59 Division troops.

No Fire Zone

Despite all these information troops were on high alert as they were hundred percent sure that the remaining Tiger leaders will make a desperate attempt to flee from the Safe Zone as last batches of civilians were arriving in the military controlled area through Vaddavakkal causeway in Mullaitivu North and towards Vellamullivaikkal and Karayanmullivaikkal in the Northern part of the No Fire Zone by Saturday evening.

Prabhakaran’s LTTE identity card

Although at the initial stage civilians arrived in military controlled area crossing the Nanthikadal lagoon in inflated tubes and rafts with the 59 Division troops capturing the Vadduvakkal causeway a huge influx of civilians started to reach Mullaitivu North.

As these civilians were vacating the Safe Zone the Tiger leaders trapped there were busy planning to escape towards the Weli Oya jungles. On Saturday night around 7 p.m. troops received a monitoring report that they have launched some boats into the Nanthikadal lagoon.

As there was no access for them towards the shore the 59 Division troops under the command of Brigadier Prasanna Silva and the Task Force VIII under the command of Colonel G. V. Ravipriya who were operating in the Western bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon were alerted about a possible attempt by the LTTE to breach the defence lines in the Western bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon.

With this information the 59 Division troops and the Task Force VIII troops were ready to face any eventuality by Saturday night. It was around 1.20 a.m. on Sunday morning when troops detected some Tiger boats were heading towards the Wester edge of the lagoon. As troops were hundred percent sure that the boats arriving towards them were not civilians they directed fire towards them destroying them.

By that time hundreds of Tiger cadres dipped in the lagoon had crossed towards the Western edge of the lagoon.

Prabhakaran’s body found at Nanthikadal lagoon

They have reached towards the defences manned by 5 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel Kalpa Sanjeewa attached to the 682 Brigade commanded by Lt. Colonel Subashana Welikala and the 19 Sri Lanka Light Infantry battalion under the command of Lt. Colonel Ravindra Perera attached to 592 Brigade. Lt. Colonel Senaka Wijesuriya commanded the 592 Brigade troops as Acting Commander.

Two bunkers manned by the 19 SLLI were attacked by the Tiger cadres and they tried to escape towards Oddusudan jungles after breaching the defence line. But it was not an easy task for them as troops have strengthened the defences around the Nanthikadal lagoon as they have correctly assessed the possibilities for the LTTE to escape towards the Weli Oya jungles at the last moment.

It was under the supervision of Brigadier Chagie Gallage who was specially sent to overlook the operational matters of the 59 Division, the first second and third defence lines were strengthened without leaving any room for the LTTE to breach them.

Lt. Colonel Senaka Wijesuriya deployed additional troops soon to cover up the breached defences and to prevent cadres infiltrating into the jungle patches. The 5 VIR troops also took the brunt of the Tiger fire and killed scores of Tiger cadres who tried to breach the Security Forces defences.

Troops completely foiled their attempt to breach the defences by 5 a.m. and conducted search operations to collect the bodies of the Tiger cadres and their weapons from the Western bank of the lagoon by both 19 SLLI troops and the 5 VIR troops.

It was later revealed that it was the first part of the Tiger operation code named ‘Anchor I’ to clear the path for the Tiger leaders to escape towards the Mullaitivu and Weli Oya jungles and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthony and number of senior Tiger cadres were due to arrive in the second wave once the first batch of Tiger cadres cleared the path for them.

But that attempt to clear a path for the Tiger leaders to escape towards the jungles reached an abrupt end with the troops foiling their attempt. But search operations continued to comb the jungle patches closer to famous Dara point in the Western edge of the Nanthikadal lagoon in search of Tiger cadres who had infiltrated into the jungles as there were signs that the LTTE was secretly stocking food stocks in the jungles for their survival.

While these search operations were continuing the last batches of civilians continued to pour into the military controlled areas as troops of the 53, 58 and 59 Division troops tightened the noose on the remaining Tiger controlled area in the immediate North of Mullaitivu. It was around 10.30 am on Sunday troops of the 53 Division and the 59 Division linked up together in the Eastern edge of the lagoon.

LTTE leaders

It was around 3 p.m on Sunday when the last batch of civilians arrived in the military controlled area from the Vaddavakkal causeway in the Mullaitivu North and the troops have surrounded the remaining LTTE cadres into a 400 X 300 metres stretch in Karayanmullivaikkal area.

Infantry troops led by Special Forces and Commando troops continued their thrust and lay siege around the last terrain of the LTTE. The troops stopped their operations as dusk fell as it was dangerous to enter the last terrain during the night. However, all troops were kept on alert since there were strong indications that LTTE leaders would make an attempt to flee from the area.

As they were on vigil the 17 Gemunu Watch battalion under the command of Lt. Colonel Keerthi Kottewatta who were screening the civilians arriving in the 53 Division area observed a number of civilians arriving towards their defences around 2.30 a.m. on Monday.

The troops have been given strict instructions not take any civilians towards the military controlled areas that day as there was a large possibility for the LTTE leaders to make a massive attempt to flee from that area.

As civilians were denied access there was an attempt to forcibly enter through Security Forces defences and troops fired shots into the air to stop them. As troops fired shots into the air, a massive fire was directed at the troops and number of bunkers manned by 17 Gemunu watch and the 5 Gemunu Watch battalion came under attack of the LTTE and Tiger cadres started to enter the military controlled areas through the breached defences.

Simultaneously, Special Forces Brigade Commander Colonel Athula Kodippili was reaching towards the Y junction that links the A-35 Road and the Puthumattalan Road and a soldier there pleaded him not to go beyond that point as the Tiger cadres have already infiltrated their defences.

With that information Colonel Athula Kodippili proceeded towards the 53 Division Headquarters in Puthukudiyiruppu to take precautionary measures to avoid further infiltration of the military defences.

By that time Artillery Brigade Commander Brigadier Priyantha Napagoda who was monitoring the UAV visuals from Kilinochchi had observed the way the Tiger cadres were infiltrating through the Security Forces defences and 58 Division GOC Brigadier Shavendra Silva was also informed of the situation.

At the time of the final attempt of the LTTE leader, Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka who was on an overseas visit also arrived in the country and instructions were given to strengthen the second and third defences to face any eventuality and 55 Division Acting GOC Brigadier Chargie Gallage was also asked to move to Puthukudiyiruppu area to help the 53 Division to reestablish the breached defences.

Brigadier Shavendra Silva took immediate measures to strengthen the defences along the A-35 Road as Tiger cadres were heading towards the beachfront. The 7 Sinha Regiment Commanding Officer Lt. Colonel Kithsiri Liyanage who was closely monitoring the situation along with 1 Commando CO Major Krishantha Gnanaratne took immediate measures to strengthen the defences. Commando troops launched a massive fire towards the Tiger cadres who infiltrated towards the A-35 Road through the road from the lagoon front.

Army casualties

It was amidst these fierce battle that troops monitored LTTE transmissions that few of their top level leaders were fleeing in an ambulance. But it was later revealed that the ambulance which had arrived from the Air Mobile Brigade Medical Dressing Station with three Army casualties has been stopped closer to Y junction in the A-35 by two Tiger cadres who set it on fire. The three soldiers have managed to escape from the ambulance and troops have killed the two Tiger cadres with two claymore mines in their back closer to the ambulance. Another bus ambulance which had a tyre punch has also been taken out of the A-35 Road towards the 681 Brigade Advance Dressing Station. Now it is believed that the LTTE had tried to mislead the troops through psychological operations pretending that Tiger leader who had tried to escape in an ambulance was burnt into ashes so that they can easily take him out towards a safer location diverting the attention of the troops towards another direction.

By that time scores of Tiger cadres and the top level leaders have been surrounded and killed by the troops. It was in the first wave of attack LTTE IT Wing leader and elder son of Prabhakaran, Charles Anthony was killed at the hands of the Security Forces.

LTTE Political Chief Nadesan and Peace Secretariat Chief Puleethevan and Military Wing Leader Ramesh was killed in the crossfire. Although there were speculations that they had expressed their willingness to surrender, there is no such indication as they have been killed during the fierce fighting.

By Monday morning troops collected scores of Tiger bodies, including that of the Tiger leaders and many of them were identified by the military intelligence officials. There were many disfigured bodies after being caught in the massive fire. Although it was announced that LTTE Intelligence Wing leader Pottu Amman’s body was recovered, later it was found that it was not his as the body was shorter than the real height of Pottu Amman.

By Monday evening troops collected more than 300 bodies from the lagoon area and fierce fighting continued till Monday evening as troops intensified search operations in search of Prabhakaran, Pottu Amman and Sea Tiger leader Soosai that was the main concerns of the troops to prove that the LTTE leadership has been totally eliminated.

As these search operations continued in the lagoon front, the Special Forces troops under the command of Colonel Athula Kodippili captured the last few hundred metres under the LTTE killing more than 130 Tiger cadres.

Special search operation

It was under these circumstances the three Squadrons from the 1, 2 and 5 Commando battalions launched a special search operation along the Kadolana stretch of the Nanthikadal lagoon as they strongly believed that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was still alive inside.

As they continued their search operations they were faced with heavy resistance from the LTTE who were hiding inside the Kadolana stretch in Vellamullivaikkal area. The belt order of Tiger leader Prabhakaran and his pistol has been recovered by the Commando troops although they could not identify his body.

It was after the Commando troops conducted their operations 4 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment that troops under the Coommand of Lt. Colonel Rohan Aluvihare conducted a search operation in that area. It was around 10.30 a.m. they found the body of Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The bodies of the inner ring defence of the Tiger leader was also found along with his body. The dog tag bearing 001 and his identity card, personnel weapons and his personnel belongings were found from his pack.

The message was passed to 53 Division GOC Major General Kamal Gunaratne and in turn he tried to convey the good news to the Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka. But it was after great difficulty that the message was passed onto him as he was attending the inauguration of Parliament sessions by the President and later it was announced through the media.

That was how the saga of the most ruthless terror leader Velupillai Prabhakaran ended in such a way inside a bush in the Nanthikadal lagoon from which the LTTE tried their best to build up Tamil Eelam keeping the Tamil people as his hostages. The only challenge before the Security Forces today is to find the body of LTTE Intelligence Wing Leader Pottu Amman as their final victory against the LTTE remains incomplete without any concrete evidence to prove his death.


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