The deposed Ampara-Batticaloa Special Commander ?Colonel? Thambirajah Ramesh and former regional political chief Karikalan were among an LTTE group that had been moved under heavy military escort from the east to Omanthai, north of Vavuniya early this week. Scandinavian truce monitors had accompanied the group.
Ramesh had been confined to Kilinochchi for several months after the LTTE unceremoniously removed him from the Batticaloa command for failing to crush Karuna loyalists.
But, he was in the east last week to represent the organization at his former colleague Kaushalyan?s funeral. The military pointed out that although Ramesh had been given an opportunity to address the gathering, he hadn?t been in uniform underscoring the fact that he had been removed from the military wing.
`Ramesh would have been under constant surveillance during his brief stay in the east. Once ousted from a favoured post, any senior cadre, irrespective of his or her loyalty, would be under surveillance,` a senior military official said. ?Colonel? Bhanu succeeded Ramesh several months ago but Karuna loyalists continue to mount sporadic attacks on the group?s Vanni faction with the occasional high profile killing.
But LTTE political chief S. P. Thamilchelvan and several others had not joined the group that included Ramesh and Karikalan. Authoritative sources said that Thamilchelvan had requested air transport to visit Sampur, Trincomalee on Wednesday.
The sources said that the LTTE took extraordinary security measures during their Vanni leaders? stay in the east.
Meanwhile, LTTE Political Secretariat chief S. Pulidevan was expected to arrive in Colombo yesterday. Pulidevan who was in the east late last week, to meet with Japanese peace envoy Yasushi Akashi, was to be escorted overland to Colombo by the military, the sources said. Although it wasn?t clear whether he was to have any specific meetings with Peace Secretariat, his meetings in Colombo, if any, would focus on ways to work out an LTTE-led mechanism to run tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the northern and eastern provinces.