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JVP fear psychosis - Part VIII:

JVP attack on Wadduwa Army Camp foiled

The Indo-Lanka accord and the arrival of the IPKF in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka served as an excuse for JVP to set up a dictatorship through the wave of wanton violence it unleashed. They planned anti-accord demonstrations. Continued from yesterday

The two T-56 guns were put into a gunny bag and handed to 'S' who rode off on a motorcycle with another DJV terrorist.

The Police then entered the Pirivena premises and removed three cooperative trucks which were parked inside to take the mob to Colombo to join the anti-accord demonstrations.


Rohana Wijeweera

'Gamini' and 'A' then jumped over the Pirivena's rear parapet wall and walked along the rail track and reached the Pannipitiya junction. From there, the two gunmen got onto the Maharagama-Piliyandala Road.

'A' stopped at Makuluduwa, while 'Gamini' went to 'An's garage at Maharagama.

"The next day, when 'S' arrived in a motorcycle I told him that the residents of the house behind the garage were at the Pirivena and would have identified him.

That evening, as instructed, 'Gamini' went to the Delkanda junction on the High Level Road, just past the Nugegoda town. 'S' met 'Gamini' there and took him to a safe house about 100 yards towards on Thalawatugoda Road. 'E' and 'Su' were living in a room in this house.

Army Volunteer Force

Incidentally, 'Gamini' told Police that he had applied earlier to join the Army Volunteer Force and had received a letter calling for him to be present at an interview. But, he was unable to do so, as he was at the time in Police custody at Horana, his native abode.

The JVP, however, staged a hold up of the vehicle transporting 'Gamini' and he escaped to become the JVP's No: 1 hit man.

After living in a safe house at Delkanda for about one month, in August 1987, 'S' called on 'Gamini' and 'Su' and instructed them to come to Panadura main bus stand on the following day.

They kept the appointment and were met by another subversive who had been taken into Police custody with 'Gamini' earlier. The three of them then went to Wadduwa, the coastal town immediately South of Panadura.

"We met 'H' at Wadduwa and were taken to a safe house on a rubber plantation. There were about ten other DJV members in this house. The wife of the chief occupant of the house was also present."

'Gamini' told Police that he recognized several of those faces in the safe house. After having lunch, 'Ce' took them towards the Army camp at Wadduwa.

"We had a detailed look at the rear and the escape routes to make our getaway after the planned attack on the camp."

The Army camp was about two miles from the JVP safe house.

JVP leadership

About 7.00 p.m. that night, Shantha Bandara, who ranked No: 9 in the JVP leadership, arrived in a motorcycle. He was fair and well-built.

He wore shirt and trousers and his feet were clad in sandals.

At 36 years, the university drop-out ranked above the JVP's present leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, who was at the time No: 11 in the JVP hierarchy.

He joined the JVP around 1977 and headed its list of candidates at the Colombo Municipal Council Elections. Although he hailed from Kandy, he became the JVP's Chief Organiser for the South.

In 1988, he was arrested on suspicion, if my memory serves me right, at Beliatta in the Hambantota district. While in the Police station cell, he had offered his guards one and a half lakhs of rupees if they helped him escape. This was conveyed to the OIC of the Police station, who immediately realized he had a big JVP fish in his catch.

He promptly informed his superiors and the suspect was brought to Colombo under heavy guard. By then, he had been identified as Shantha Bandara, one of the country's most wanted men.

Safe house in Wadduwa

However, he secured release on the promise that he would have Rohana Wijeweera ceased his orgy of violence and bring about a settlement. He reneged on this promise, as all terrorists do, as reneging on promises is part of textbook terrorism, and continued to terrorize the country.

Ultimately, Shantha Bandara was killed in January 1990.

At the safe house in Wadduwa, the JVP's No: 9 and other terrorists gathered around him. He then unfolded a map of the Wadduwa Army Camp, their target of attack. The map gave details such as the location of the sentry points, guardroom, guard commander's office, radio room and the armoury.

He briefed each member of the hit team on the task he was to perform.

"My orders were to climb to the communications tower and along with another subversive, to attack those manning the radio room and tie them up. Orders were given to others on how to capture the sentry points, raid the armoury etc. the prime purpose of the operation was to seize all the arms and ammunition in the camp."

That night, about 9.30 p.m. the hit team assembled close to the Army Camp at the edge of the rubber plantation, when a man who identified himself as another member of the DJV, arrived and spoke to the attack leaders 'S' and 'Su' and then informed 'Gamini' and the others that the other section of the attack group had been arrested by Police.

The cat was out of the bag. The attack had been called off.

The writer is a former editor of Daily News and The Sunday Observer.

geoff@geoffwijesinghe.com

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