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Military officer taught LTTE cadre assassination tricks: Lanka court

world Updated: Jun 13, 2009 00:47 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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The LTTE had made suicide assassination attempts on President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the help of a military officer on their payroll in the last six months, a criminal court was told on Friday.

The revelations came after a suspected LTTE suicide cadre was arrested from Colombo. According to the army, the suspect received training in Kilinochchi for assassinating VIPs. By the army’s own admission, the attempts failed by a "whisker."

He revealed that the first assassination attempt on Rajapaksa was made while he was attending a passing out parade at the Diyatalawa academy, located outside Colombo, on December 20, 2008.

"A military officer involved in the execution of those plans arrested,’’ the army said on Friday.

The second plan was to target Rajapaksa in the heart of Colombo while he was attending an exhibition in the biggest conference hall in the city, Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) on April 4 this year.

"The suicide bomber had sought permission to enter the premises in the company of the arrested military officer, but the senior Police officer in-charge of security…did not allow the terrorist and the military officer to enter the BMICH premises,’’ the army said.

The third attempt was to follow after LTTE suicide bombers had targeted a group of six ministers in the town of Akuressa while they during `id’ celebrations on March 10. One of the ministers was seriously injured in the blast which killed and maimed dozens.

But the plan was to target Rajapaksa when he visited the injured minister in the hospital.

"Tiger terrorists, presuming that the President would be coming to see hospitalised ministers, dispatched a suicide cadre to the hospital premises. (But) By then the President had visited the injured and left the premises," the army said.

Meanwhile, the Lankan government is unlikely to give permission to the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) to open 300 more filling stations, Petroleum Resources Minister A H M Fowzie has told Parliament.

The Minister said that according to the agreement with the LIOC, it should be allowed to open a new filling station each time the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) opens one.

The Government was now seeking expert opinion on the possibility of amending the agreement. In the Government’s opinion the agreement does not reciprocate each others interest.