The military identified an LTTE casualty, evacuated to Colombo Wednesday morning, as Keerthi, an intelligence wing cadre responsible for a spate of attacks targeting Karuna loyalists and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) personnel based in the Ampara-Batticaloa region.
He conducted operations, particularly in government-held areas following the March 2004 split triggered by one-time Ampara-Batticaloa leader Karuna.
`Keerthi is in a critical condition,` a military official said. Karuna loyalists attacked several vehicles carrying a group of senior Vanni cadres in the LTTE-held area on Monday evening. Several cadres were killed and at least six wounded including Keerthi.
The SLAF airlifted Keerthi from the LTTE-held village in Batticaloa to the Ratmalana airbase and from there moved under heavy security to a private hospital in a Colombo suburb. `This was done on a Defence Ministry directive,` he said. He would be given round the clock security, he said, adding that Keerthi and a colleague, believed to be a bodyguard, were first flown to Hingurakkgoda airbase in a chopper and transferred to a Chinese built Y 12 fixed wing transport aircraft.
The military said that Keerthi was to be airlifted Tuesday afternoon. But the casualty evacuation had to be put off due to inclement weather.
The military said that Kumaratunga authorised the casualty evacuation almost immediately after the Peace Secretariat brought the LTTE`s request to her notice.