Thursday, September 6, 2007

'DPU' Attacks on 'Tamil Ealam Health Service'

For many months, if not years, the LTTE has been accusing the Sri Lanka Army's Deep Penetration Unit' of killing civilians and members of its 'Tamil Ealam Health Service' in ambushes deep-inside LTTE controlled areas. The LTTE's reference is to the Army's Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol unit of the Special Forces Brigade. The Army has been refusing these allegations and denying the existence of a 'Deep Penetration Unit'. The LTTE has now again alleged that on September 1st 2007, nine civilians were killed in a claymore attack by the 'Deep Penetration Unit' in Paasithenral in Musali, in the government's latest military operation south of Mannar Town. The attack occurred in areas without an official Security Forces presence. However the allegations are worthwhile exploring.

Allegations of 'DPU' attacks on the 'Tamil Ealam Medical Service' aren't all that rare. Over one year ago, on 9th August 2006, the LTTE claimed that medical staff attached to the Nedunkerni Hospital were ambushed at Pandarakulam on the Nedunkerni-Oddusudan road. However, in July 2007, the Army's Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol eliminated the LTTE's Military Leader in Mankulam. He was later identified as 'Lt. Col'. Tamil Vannan. DefenceWire has reliably learnt that Tamil Vaanan was traveling in a vehicle disguised as a 'Tamil Ealam Health Service' vehicle at the time of attack. In a Reuters News Agency coverage of Tamil Vannan's funeral, The head of the LTTE's 'Tamil Ealam Health Service' Dr Vaman claimed that Lt. Col. Tamil Vannan was part of a group of medical workers conducting an anti-rabies clinic. If Dr Vaman's claims are correct, Lt. Col. Tamil Vannan must also be a doctor by profession or at-least a paramedic. But why did he hold a military rank, a rank equivalent to a Brigadier in the Sri Lanka Army? Why did he also qualify for a funeral with LTTE military honors? These are questions that give rise to more questions than answers.

Some of these questions will lead an intelligent mind towards the truth. For instance, is the Army killing innocent people on purpose? Can highly-trained soldiers of the LRRP, acting on intelligence information, continually make such serious mistakes? why is the LTTE using Ambulances to transport its military commanders? Did LRRP teams attack civilians thinking they were LTTE commanders? Can it be that the LTTE is using civilians as a shield?

Military sources indicate that LRRP operations are usually launched on highly-verified intelligence information and after careful planning. This leaves no room for mistaken identities. Whatever the case maybe, innocent civilians have died. In a war with considerable collateral damage over the past several decades, these deaths will only matter to the ones left-behind by the dead.

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