The government had denied security to an LTTE (Vanni faction) contingent led by its Ampara-Batticaloa Special Commander Bhanu to move across the army-held area in the east.
The LTTE had requested overland passage from Batticaloa south (Thoppigala) to Vakarai via Valaichenai and Kajuwatte a few days ago.
A senior government official said that request had been made to the SCOPP (Peace Secretariat) through the Scandinavian truce monitors.
According to the official altogether 26 cadres including Bhanu wanted to move to Vakarai where Vanni and Karuna factions are battling for supremacy.
The government had denied security as the contingent was obviously not on its way to engage in political activity. `We considered it a fighting unit as Bhanu was in it,` the official said. The security had been denied on the basis of the advice and recommendation made by the SCOPP to Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
An authoritative military official said that the Vanni faction had never asked for military escorts to move within the Batticaloa district before.
The Oslo-arranged Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) provides for unrestricted access to LTTE political wing cadres to move across government-held areas. The official said that government had the right to deny access and security if the intended moves constitute re-deployment of fighting cadres.
The military said that the LTTE was beefing up units in Vakarai against Karuna loyalists. Despite a series of Vanni faction hits on Karuna faction in Ampara-Batticaloa region and neighbouring Welikanda, Prabhakaran loyalists face stiff opposition. The dissident faction continues to operate with success a year after Karuna quit the organisation in early last March.
A senior police official said that Bhanu?s request for security points to their (Vanni faction?s) dilemma. `They feel the heat. They are no longer safe to move freely,` he said. The LTTE wouldn?t have asked for security unless they had been really rattled by sporadic attacks mounted by Karuna loyalists.