Journalists allowed to visit Trinco LTTE camp
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 October 2003, 15:12 GMT]
For the first time since the controversy broke out over the location of the Kurankupanchan camp of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Trincomalee district, the LTTE Wednesday allowed a group of journalists from Colombo and Trincomalee to visit the camp, located 32 km west of Trincomalee town, sources said.
A convoy of vehicles taking journalists followed the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) vehicle driven by the SLMM's Trincomalee acting head, Mr. Kurt Spur.
The LTTE's Trincomalee district political head, Mr.Thilak, was in the SLMM vehicle, sources said.
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), which has its headquarters in Colombo, organized the visit of Colombo journalists to Kurankupanchan. Trincomalee-based journalists also joined in the tour, sources said.
The Government of Sri Lanka claims that the Kurankupanchan camp is in area under its control. But
the LTTE has been saying that the area has been under their control. The SLMM has determined the Kurankupanchan camp is within the GOSL-controlled area, sources said.
At the outset of the press conference, Mr.Thilak said, "We have brought you to this camp with the sole aim of bringing to the notice of the people in the south through the Colombo media the reality behind the Kurankupanchan camp controversy."
Journalists coming out of the LTTE political office in Trincomalee to go to Kurankupnchan camp Wednesday morning
" You can go and see the camp area. You will see evidence to show the existence of the camp at Kurankupanchan even before signing the ceasefire agreement. Please write without bias the facts regarding this camp issue. We read a lot of speculative news and reports published in the Colombo media without any foundation. We have confidence in the southern journalists that when they see the facts they would carry the truth in their media," Mr.Thilak told the Colombo journalists.
Mr.Thilak in reply to a question said that there was no need for the LTTE to derail the peace process by establishing new camps as it has dedicated itself under the current peaceful environment to rehabilitate the displaced families in their own areas and ensure the return of normalcy in their
lives and to work for their economic development.
A Colombo journalist at the press conference armed with a photocopy of the report of a Colombo English weekly captioned " Tigers trap for Trinco siege"
"The Trincomalee harbour had come under LTTE attack several times before signing the ceasefire agreement with the government. Therefore we have no need to establish new military camps in areas surrounding the harbour to
launch fresh attacks," said Mr.Thilak when a Colombo journalist asked to comment on the report of a Sunday English weekly under the caption " Tiger
trap for Trinco siege."
The Weekly's report said the LTTE had established several camps surrounding the Trincomalee harbour.
Mr.Thilak (Center) with Colombo journalists walking toward the Kurankupanchchan camp
Journalists walking towards Kuranpanchchan camp
LTTE's Trincomalee district political head, Mr.Thilak, addressing the press conference. On his right, in military uniform is LTTE's Upparu military head, Lt. Col. Vimal, whose division includes the Kurankupanchchan camp.
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