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Chronology of LTTE terror: - Part 15

From the Daily News Archives:

Terrorists attack two villages in Trinco

June 4, 1986, a few days after the terrorist massacre of villagers at Maha Divulvewa and the bomb blast at Elephant House, Colombo killing more civilians the terrorists were at it again in the Trincomalee District.

When the euphoria of victory dies down, and together with it the media hype ceases, when the guns do not rattle and boom anymore, and the sky, the land and the sea become calm and serene, when tranquillity reigns through it is natural to live in the present moment and forget the past. But one cannot live in the present without a past. Nor can one envision the future discarding the experience of the preceding events. Hence the Daily News is serialising the Chronicle of LTTE Terror taken from our own archives which would remind our readers how it all began. An awareness of the chronology of terror would help us prevent the recurrence of such terror and frustrate any attempts by misguided elements to repeat history to suit their evil designs. It was not simple terror. Nor was terror sporadic. It was all pre-planned, pre-determined, well-calculated terror. The victims were innocent people. Though it is too many innumerate we would like to recall the major episodes in the Chronology of Terror.

They attacked two small villages Anandakulama and Mahindapura both farming villages West of Trincomalee town.

As we had seen always the separatist terrorists would come to attack helpless people if there was no Police or the Armed Forces present and in the case of this attack Police learned that the band of terrorists who had come to attack the two villages had seen a Police patrol in the area and had gone back to hide in the jungle till the Police had left the area.

When they were sure there was no one to prevent them the terrorists came to the villages and first shot dead two farmers in the Andankulama village and burnt down 8 houses but the people had escaped when they saw the terrorists coming to set fire to the houses. They next set fire to two trucks parked in the village and moved on.

Their next target was Mahindapura where they killed 16 more unarmed villagers among them some women and children. The terrorists left leaving a trail of blood behind and later the Police reported that a Buddhist monk in the adjoining village had gone missing after the attack.

It was not clear at the time whether the Buddhist monk had fled seeing the terrorists but it was wel-known that the terrorist bands including the most ruthless among them the LTTE all out to attack Buddhist monks.

Two days later the terrorists attempted another attack on civilians and if it had succeeded a large number perhaps about a hundred people would have been killed. It was June 6, two days after the massacre of civilians in the two villages near Trincomalee that a powerful explosion rocked the railway yard at Dematagoda. A powerful bomb had gone off at the guard wagon of the express train bound for Badulla at 5.30 p.m. The sound of the explosion was heard about two miles away too. Fortunately the explosion did not kill anyone as the train to Badulla was to reach Colombo Fort railway station only around 7.30 p.m.

Explosive experts and the Government analyst called in to investigate the explosion said it was a time bomb but it was not clear why it went off at a time when the train was stationary.

Possibly the terrorists who had fixed the time bomb made a mistake about the departure time of the train or the information they got would have been faulty.

However only two railway workers were injured and no one had died in the explotion. Therefore it was one of the attempts of the terrorists that was botched.

Still more acts of terrorism were to take place in the same month and the terrorist attacks on civilians continued while the Sri Lanka Army was also on the offensive against the terrorist who were not so bold when they faced the Armed Forces preferring to take to their heels when the Army was approaching them.

Another terrorist strike at Trinco

Terrorists attacked two small villages in the Trincomalee district on Wednesday, brutally mowing down 18 men, women and children, the National Security Ministry said.

At Andankulam, three miles west of the Trincomalee town, terrorists armed with automatic weapons killed two farmers and burned eight houses and two trucks, the ministry said. In the second village, Mihindupura, close to an irrigation reservoir, 16 Sinhalese were killed and their bodies are yet to be identified.

DIG (North Central) Winnie Samarawickrame said the victims were at the tank, some harvesting lotus (olu) seeds and some bathing, when the attackers shot them dead at near point blank range.

According to a police report, the attackers had arrived at the village earlier on Wednesday, but had left on spotting the police.

They had returned later, when the field was clear, and massacred the villagers - possibly as a reprisal for the killing a few days ago of ten Tamils whose bodies were found in a cesspit at Uppuveli.

As first news of the massacre reached Trincomalee, a contingent of naval and police personnel rushed to Andankulam, but found the attackers had fled.

Police said there were reports that the monk at a neighbouring temple was also missing. The authorities hoped that he had escaped and was hiding in the jungle.

The security forces are combing the area. The Joint Operations Command has moved reinforcements to help the cordon-and-search operation that is now under way, in an effort to apprehend the gang. Meanwhile, at Kilinochchi, the 14-hour curfew was lifted at 7 a.m. yesterday and reimposed at 2 p.m. and will be effective till 9 a.m. today.

The terrorists had attacked the Kilinochchi army camp on Wednesday morning, suffering at least six dead and many more wounded. Military sources said there was information that the terrorist forces were attempting to re-group.

Many of the wounded have sought treatment at the Kilinochchi hospital. The forces, who neither bombed nor fired from the air during this operation, out of consideration for civilians, left the hospital alone for the same reason, a spokesman said.

Explosion rips brake-van of parked Jaffna train

An explosion ripped the brake van of a train parked at the Dematagoda railway yard yesterday afternoon injuring two workers, police and eyewitnesses said.

The blast-hit train had been used for the Colombo-Jaffna inter-city run and left lying at the yard for over four months after the suspension of this service to the North, railway sources said.

Adjoining platform

They said the train at the adjoining platform was to leave the yard at 7.10 p.m. and go to Badulla from the Fort Railway station at 7.30 p.m. The 5.30 p.m. explosion was heard within a two-mile radius, residents said.

Army bomb disposal squad was summoned to check the carriages for more bombs, before the Badulla train left on the scheduled journey.

A railway spokesman said all carriages in the parked train were locked, but police said the doors could have been easily opened and it was not difficult to enter the Romanian-built carriages.

"Security in this place has been slack. If they (railway) followed the general guidelines issued to all establishments, this incident could have been avoided," Dematagoda OIC Inspector Gamini Wijesooriya said.

The two injured men had their ear drums blasted by the loud explosion and they were taken to the accident ward, eyewitnesses said.

Separatist terrorists

Police said it was too early to pinpoint the motive for the attack but it was popularly believed that separatist terrorists were responsible for it.

"Even if they mistook the intercity for the Badulla train, the explosion wouldn't have hurt anyone because at the time the bomb went off the Badulla train would have still been in the yard.

"From the first signs, we have a strong suspicion that a timing device had been employed. But it puzzles us why it went off at 5.30 p.m., when the impact would be minimal," Inspector Wijesooriya said. Another line of investigation is whether the blast went off prematurely. The Government analyst is expected to study the wreck today.

Tomorrow: LTTE triggers off two time bombs in Trincomalee

Yesterday: Terrorist blast kills nine at Cold Stores


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