Prabhakaran’s surrender could have saved 500 LTTE cadres: Report
It was the chance discovery of the body of an LTTE cadre, Vinodan, known to be part of V Prabhakaran’s inner-most protection ring, on May 19 that led the Sri Lankan army (SLA) to believe that the Tiger chief had been killed, a new defence ministry report has said.
It further claimed that the lives of at least 500 Tiger cadres could have been saved had the LTTE leader surrendered and that he had all but abandoned his elder son Charles Anthony, whose escape was prepared through another route.
The report, titled ‘The Endgame’ said the final battle was fought “for nearly four days starting from May 16 to May 19 on the north-eastern coast of the Island,’’ the report said, adding that it took place in an area “not more than 4 square kilometres.’’
Three SLA Divisions and one Task Force mainly involved in the ground battle. Prabhakaran’s plan “was to escape with a small group of his personal bodyguards while all other cadres die in fighting with army, as a deception to cover his movement.
He did not want to take even his elder son, Charles Anthony with him, but freed himself from the burden by ordering some of the most senior LTTE military leaders to take him from a different route.
Over Rs 12 million found near the location where Charles Anthony was killed might give an explanation how those LTTE leaders were persuaded to the task,’’ it said.
It said that while President Mahinda Rajapaksa was making a speech in Parliament about the end of LTTE, troops were still busy trying to locate Prabhakaran in and around dense mangrove forests.
“The (army) team charged mangroves despite all difficulties and managed to collect five bodies carrying pistols and small arms that were usually carried by VIP escorts. One of the bodies was identified as of Vinodan, one of the most senior bodyguards of the inner protection team of the LTTE leader.
“With in seconds we knew the importance of the finding”, Lieutenant Colonel Lalantha Gamage, an officer who took part in the final battle, told the ministry. “After an hour of fighting, the guns fell suddenly silent,’’ the report said.
Soon after Prabhakaran’s body was found among 18 other bodies inside the mangroves.
“Had the insular minds of Prabhakaran and his ardent followers abroad perceived the reality, at least 500 LTTE cadres could have saved their lives even at the last moment,” the ministry said.