SLA commander dismisses reports of new Trinco LTTE camp

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 October 2003, 18:11 GMT]
Maj. Gen. Sunil Tennekoon, commander of the Sri Lanka army’s 22 Division, in a meeting with journalists Wednesday night, dismissed reports in the Colombo press that the Liberation Tigers pose a very serious threat to the Trincomalee port by strategically ‘encircling’ it with several new camps, sources said.

Answering questions during the meeting at the 22 Div headquarters in the eastern port town, he dismissed reports that the LTTE had a military camp in Aandaankulam, near Trincomalee.

Journalists showed Maj. Gen. Tennekoon a map published by a leading English newspaper in Colombo, in which allegedly recent LTTE camps located strategically close to the Trincomalee port were prominently marked.

They asked him whether the map gave the correct picture of the security situation in Trincomalee.

Maj. Gen. Tennekoon, a former head of military intelligence, laughed and said in Sinhala: “Some people would say those are camps but others would say those aren’t camps but are offices.”

He said that the Manirasankulam camp (Kurankupanchan) is the only one that the LTTE had put up in a Sri Lankan government dominated area after the ceasefire agreement between the warring sides was signed in February last year.

Referring to reports in print and electronic media that the LTTE was building a new military base in Aandaankulam near Trincomalee, he said that there was no camp in that place at any period in the past and that he had addressed the apprehensions of his troops that were concerned by the story.

“We have studied the security situation in Trincomalee and handed over a report to (my) higher officers. There has always been a threat to the Trinco Naval Jetty from the LTTE,” Maj. Gen. Tennekoon said.

“If unfortunately the peace process breaks down, we are prepared to face the situation in Trincomalee,” he said.

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